Jump to content
ItsBrian

Is WFA worth it?

Recommended Posts

Wilderness First Aid, something I’ve seen on the forums and it’s been making me want to take a course on it.

I’m getting certified as a EMR (emergency medical responder), my state exam is in two weeks. 

EMR has 60+ more hours of training than wilderness, but do you learn different things in wilderness?

If anyone has taken WFA, please share your experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Brian,

The key difference in WFA is that the BSA has worked with the Red Cross and other groups to develop a training for Scouting members that focuses on responding to situations when it's not an 8 minute wait for an ambulance but an 8 hour wait for a helicopter. In short, some of the things you'll you notice in WFA versus basic first aid courses include:

  • A greater emphasis on longer-term care.
  • Techniques for moving individuals long-distances over difficult terrain.
  • How to take into account environmental factors into your treatment plan.
  • Responding to more advanced first aid situations, e.g. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, childbirth, and/or chest punctures.
  • Using outdoor equipment as resources.

I will say this. The BSA just revamped its WFA training a little while ago, so WFA instructors have more latitude into which aspects of WFA they would like to focus on, e.g. a WFA instructor leading a course for Sea Base crew leaders can focus more on lighting, submersion incidents, and heat problems.

Hope this helps!

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a complicated subject. I would wait for a few of our trained EMTs to chime in. They will know the difference in the training.

@4CouncilsScouter, does BSA have any say in what is included in WRFA? All I have seen is Red Cross and a few other groups offering it. I am not aware (at least locally here) of BSA getting involved in the actual curriculum of WRFA.

@ItsBrian, The only real difference I have seen in y experience is that WRFA focuses on giving aid with the things you might normally have or choose to carry with you in the backcountry. The depth of training can vary depending on who is teaching.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

This is a complicated subject. I would wait for a few of our trained EMTs to chime in. They will know the difference in the training.

@4CouncilsScouter, does BSA have any say in what is included in WRFA? All I have seen is Red Cross and a few other groups offering it. I am not aware (at least locally here) of BSA getting involved in the actual curriculum...

Yes, BSA does have a say in the curriculum. They have a partnership and I read somewhere else they worked together to create WFA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ItsBrian said:

Yes, BSA does have a say in the curriculum. They have a partnership and I read somewhere else they worked together to create WFA.

With which groups. There are many groups that offer wfa and I have taken it twice which was taught two very different ways. I know bsa works with ecsi but their course is different from the Red Cross which is different from nols. 

Edited by Back Pack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a WIlderness and Remote First Aid instructor for ECSI. BSA got together with several agencies, they are listed in the ECSI manual which the wife has at the moment. One name I remember is Buck Tilton being on the BSA's task force. BSA is the agency mandating a 16 hour course and getting this going. Agencies that are listed in the ARC manual are Jewish Community Center Association, American Camping Association, American Canoeing Association,  and National Park and Recreation Association.

As to whether it will be worth it or not, I do not know as I am not an EMT. But I do know that a friend who is an EMT went to Philmont and he didn't need the WFRA certification.

 

Here is a link to the 2014 manual. I know ECSI came out with some changes in 2016 since CPR had some changes in 2015.

 

https://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m49440095_WRFA_ERG_9781584806295.pdf

 

EDITED:

 

BSA has partnerships with ECSI and ARC to teach it.

 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have taken WFA. For a layman, it is a bit of a fire hose. Even with a very good. working knowledge of first aid you cover a lot of material, in depth, over a short period of time.

The material is contextual to being in the wilderness where you are more than a couple of hours from professional help. Basically, to keep the person alive until help arrives or you can evacuate.

There is a Wilderness First Responder class which I think is a 2 week class. I was told it is the equivalent to EMR but again, with a wilderness context.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

I have taken WFA. For a layman, it is a bit of a fire hose. Even with a very good. working knowledge of first aid you cover a lot of material, in depth, over a short period of time.

The material is contextual to being in the wilderness where you are more than a couple of hours from professional help. Basically, to keep the person alive until help arrives or you can evacuate.

There is a Wilderness First Responder class which I think is a 2 week class. I was told it is the equivalent to EMR but again, with a wilderness context.

EMR classes can last for weeks/months, as it is usually 60-80 hours usually.

Edited by ItsBrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

EMR classes can last for weeks/months, as it is usually 60-80 hours usually.

Yes, Wilderness First Responder is 2 weeks (80 hours) of class time. WFA is 16 or 20 hours, I forget.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, HelpfulTracks said:

Yes, Wilderness First Responder is 2 weeks (80 hours) of class time.

I’ve never see wilderness first responder before, only WFA which is 16 hours.

Maybe that’ll be my next venture after EMR!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ItsBrian said:

I’ve never see wilderness first responder before, only WFA which is 16 hours.

Maybe that’ll be my next venture after EMR!

It would be a good one from what I understand from talking to the instructor. Much more rigorous and in depth. Also, you are out in the woods in real life simulations of emergencies. My son took WFA and wants to take WFR.

I would love to take it, but it isn't that easy to find a two week block left over from other Scouting activities, without completely neglecting my family.

Edited by HelpfulTracks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

It would be a good one from what I understand from talking to the instructor. Much more rigorous and in depth. Also, you are out in the woods in real life simulations of emergencies. My son took WFA and wants to take WFR.

I would love to take it, but it isn't that easy to find a two week block left over from other Scouting activities, without completely neglecting my family.

So expensive though, I was lucky to have my school pay for EMR. From my research, EMR and WFR range from $700-1000+.

Edited by ItsBrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ItsBrian said:

So expensive though, I was lucky to have my school pay for EMR. From my research, EMR and WFR range from $700-1000+.

I did not remember the price, but no, it is not inexpensive.

That is another reason my son has not taken it yet. He is busy earning money for other things like Philmont OATC, NOAC and a car.

But, depending on your future plans, it could be a skill worth investing in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, HelpfulTracks said:

I did not remember the price, but no, it is not inexpensive.

That is another reason my son has not taken it yet. He is busy earning money for other things like Philmont OATC, NOAC and a car.

But, depending on your future plans, it could be a skill worth investing in.

As said in other threads, I’m in a Vocational HS for the health field and I graduate as a CNA. I plan on getting my masters and going into occupational therapy, and have 0 plans on going into the emergency field haha.

Ive been tempted to volunteer on a local squad and having them pay for EMT though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, ItsBrian said:

As said in other threads, I’m in a Vocational HS for the health field and I graduate as a CNA. I plan on getting my masters and going into occupational therapy, and have 0 plans on going into the emergency field haha.

Ive been tempted to volunteer on a local squad and having them pay for EMT though.

Well, depending on where you live, WFR may be an option for a squad to pay for. Or perhaps you could talk your council into sending your to WFA instructor and wrangle WFR in the mix somehow. Or it might be useful if you planned on working at Philmont or NT for a Summer. There are a number of ways you might be able to make it worth someones while to pay your way. Your an Eagle (almost) if you put your mind to it, I be you will figure a way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×