About First Aid and Wilderness First Aid
A leader must be current in a qualifying first aid course when leading an outing. The expiration date for all first aid classes is the date listed by the provider offering the class. Scroll down to see the updated Provider lists; they includes current classes offered during COVID-19. See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for more on this topic. Scroll down for NEW renewal guidelines for First Aid (FA) and Wilderness First Aid (WFA).
CPR does not satisfy First Aid requirement! Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is required of provisional leader candidates and may be included in entity-specific policies (such as Wilderness Travel Course [WTC] or Inspiring Connections Outdoors [ICO]).
New Leader Candidates! Be sure to take both FA and CPR in person as part of your requirements to be a Provisional Leader. A "Blended" class such as from American Red Cross (ARC) or American Heart Association (AHA) is acceptable first time as long as it has an in-person skills assessment component. There are several types of FA that qualify: Basic (or Standard; SFA), FA+CPR (wherein FA is the primary part), Advanced FA, WFA, First Responder, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Medical Professional, etc.
O Candidates: Standard (Basic) First Aid and CPR. (At this level, a 16-hour WFA course is counted as Standard FA.) We strongly urge O candidates or leaders who plan to lead backpacks or other trips more than an hour distant from emergency medical services to study wilderness first aid. A WFA (16-hour or above) may become a requirement for group trips into certain National Parks.
About Basic First Aid & CPR
We currently accept in-person or "blended" First Aid. "Blended" classes combine an online component with in-class training. You must successfully complete both parts to receive a certificate and credit.
Renewing First Aid (not for leader candidates)! You now may re-certify with a web-based online course such as Red Cross offers (see lists below) even if your last renewal was web-based. This is a temporary policy. Visit National's Campfire Community First Aid Certifications page for more details.
- Currency is based on the expiration date if the card, typically two years.
- Be sure that the course that you take is primarily FA to satisfy the refresher requirement.
- Online web-based First Aid courses such as American Red Cross online are a form of continuing education. Standard policy is that you can renew online every other time. However, due to the pandemic, you are allowed a one-time exemption to renew online a second time.
- You may have multiple types of FA in your database record. Having only one of them current meets this requirement. You may get an automatic email about any of these that are expiring. Contact your outings chair, or Outings Management Committee (OMC) with questions. They can delete obsolete records.
- To ensure that our leaders are in compliance, members of Safety/Leadership Training Committee (LTC)/OMC along with your outings chair may update your database record.
A FIRST AID KIT - a handy general list, courtesy of the Wilderness Travel Course's (WTC's) Handbook.
Scroll down for Wilderness First Aid and WFA Providers lists. A few revised classes and guidelines are in place during COVID-19.
- A physician, nurse, or other currently practicing medical professional need not take a basic first aid course if they have first aid knowledge equivalent to or higher than American Red Cross Basic. For the I or higher rating, WFA may be required.
- Medical professionals: you may need to send us your card so that we can record the information and dates. If you are going for an I or above, you also may want to consult with Steve Schuster, LTC First Aid Chair on your WFA needs.
- Certain entities such as ICO may have their own requirements. Contact the outings chair.
Wilderness First Aid
NEW: Currency in the time of COVID: WFA. Follow your providers' process for recertification or grace period. *A one-time exemption will be allowed for Leaders to recertify through an online class a second time in a row.
- As noted under New Leader Candidates, I/M/E candidates must take and be current in 24+hour WFA or higher+ CPR
- To stay current with the FA requirement, I/M/E rated leaders may take a 16-hour WFA course or higher course.
- You may also maintain currency with the FA requirement by taking a Basic FA course. For M/E trips, one leader on each trip must be current in 16-hour WFA or above.
- There is no such thing as a "grace period" during which you may be considered certified after expiration date; if a course has that language, it means that you may have a period of time during which you can recertify without starting over. See also COVID-19 grace period. Ask us.
- For M-restricted and E level outings, one of the two leaders must be current in WFA (16-hour minimum); the other current in (at least) Standard FA.
- If an I or M leader wishes to advance their rating, they must be current in a 24-hour or above WFA + CPR.
- Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) has its own WFA/CPR policy that applies to group leaders.
- Currency is based on the expiration date of the card.
- No online courses are accepted for WFA refreshing, except as noted by the COVID-19 exemption to this rule.
- We always recommend the 24+hour courses for the most depth of information.
- NEW! Epi pens FAQ and rules - see the latest Safety Policy
- A WFA Form: WFA Refusal of First Aid Form - for refusal of FA against medical advice.
Wilderness First Aid Providers List as of May 2023.
LTC First Aid Chair: Steve Schuster at firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve also conducts the WFAC, on our list of WFA providers.
Visit National's Campfire Community First Aid Certifications page for more information.
Leader Records Updating
Leader Candidates: please send your scanned card (front and back) to LTC Admin. Expiration date is important.
Existing Leaders: when you complete a first aid course or renew OLT, you must notify your Outings Chair (not LTC) so that the requirement can be updated in the database. Be ready to show your scanned card front and back. Expiration date is important.
Outings Chairs: you must add a description (abbreviation such as ARC) of the provider in the certifications section of the leader's record.
- For First Aid, include the date and type of first aid completed, e.g. basic FA or WFA, the provider (e.g. ARC, AHA, etc.) and whether online or in person or hybrid.
- For WFA, note whether the refresher course was a 16-hour or 24-hour or other. Example: NOLS 16-hour.
- Outings Chairs or records managers will update the LEADERS database with this information and should verify that the leader is compliant with the requirements at the time of any outing.
For Outings Leadership Training (OLT) options, see our OLT101 page. Outings chairs will include date completed.