Wilderness first aid: is there an "industry standard"?

Wilderness Environ Med. 2009 Summer;20(2):113-7. doi: 10.1580/08-WEME-OR-234R1.1.


Objective: To determine if an "industry standard" exists for wilderness first aid training and certification of outdoor adventure/education leaders.

Methods: Regulatory authorities, national organizations, and school/college groups were queried with regard to their requirements for first aid training of their wilderness trek leaders.

Results: Only 10 of the 22 states with guide licensure programs required any first aid training as a condition of licensure, and none specified a specific course. Of those programs requiring such training, the requirements ranged from a 6-hour standard first aid course to more structured "wilderness first responder" certification.

Conclusions: There exists no uniform industry standard for first aid training and certification of wilderness leaders. The epidemiology of backcountry injuries as well as what is currently known about clinical skills retention indicate that there may be little evidence basis for much of current practice.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Certification
  • Emergency Treatment / standards*
  • First Aid / standards*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • Risk Management
  • United States
  • Wilderness Medicine* / education
  • Wilderness Medicine* / standards
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*