Details For Registered Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Participants

To register for these courses, please visit our Workshops & Certifications page. We typically host one week-long Wilderness First Responder course in early January, and two weekend Wilderness First Aid classes, one in spring semester and one in fall semester.

Thank you for your interest in participating in a Wilderness Medicine course held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. This page details what to know and how to prepare for your Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) class, as well as our policies.

3 people in a practice medical scenario outside, one person lying on a pad with warm layers while two others care for them Image by Kate Ford

Please read carefully over the following information included on this page:

To Do Prior To Course

All students of the WFA or WFR courses must submit:

  1. OAP Required Health Form & Waiver: Adult Waiver or Minor Waiver
  2. WFR only: 6 weeks prior to course start date, finalize payment if you chose the "Deposit + Invoice" option.

what-to-expectWhat to Expect

WFR Start/End Times: For WFR, every day will start at 8 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early so the group is ready to start on time.

WFA Start/End Times: For WFA courses, both days will start at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m., pending the instructor adjusting the times as needed. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early so the group is ready to start on time. CPR TIMING: If you register for the optional CPR certification with WFA, you should expect to stay on Saturday evening until approx. 8 p.m., possibly with a break for dinner, depending on the instructor and group.

Breaks and Food: For all classes, there will be regular breaks as well as 30 minutes to an hour for a lunch break. Meals are on your own. Refrigerator, microwave, sink, and coffee pot plus electric water kettle are available. There are a few limited eating places within walking distance, as well.

Course Itinerary: The teaching of WFA or WFR is provided by a contracted instructor; because of this, the flow of the teaching of topics will vary depending on the instructor, so we are not able to provide an itinerary of the course.

CPR note: Any Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is valid only with current CPR certification. The WFR course includes CPR, no additional steps necessary. WFA participants may take the optional CPR/AED basic certification module at an additional cost (held Saturday evening). Please choose the appropriate registration if you need CPR. Please email: prior to the course start if you need to add CPR to your existing WFA registration.

Advice from previous participants:

"Embrace the grind, don’t expect to have a social life outside of class for the week" (WFR 2023).

"It was a tough week for sure! Plan to dedicate your entire week to reading. If you can, start reviewing the course work ahead of time" (WFR 2023).

"If possible, read over the textbook before the course to make the reading less overwhelming and time-consuming during the course" (WFR 2023). See versions of WMA's online textbooks.

"Be ready to get into it! Try! Go all in!" (WFA 2022).

"It is a lot of work, and studying outside of the classroom will help to retain the information" (WFR 2022).

"This course was fantastic. My only advice: Bring bandanas or cravats and short pieces of string or rope. You will WANT them" (WFR 2022).

Gear List for WFA or WFR Courses Gear

You should plan to wear or have with you clothing that will be appropriate to the season and location where you will be taking your course. Some of the class will be inside classroom-style. A significant portion of the class time will be spent out-of-doors, with consideration for outside temperature and weather. Be prepared to go outside in the cold and/or rain or snow. You are free to supplement the list below with anything else you would normally carry and have as resources in a wilderness emergency. You will be using your equipment to provide care, build splints, and to keep yourself and others warm. Please note, instructors may use moulage (fake wound makeup) throughout the training that can stain some clothing; therefore, you may want to bring older or darker clothing to wear for scenarios.

One person sits on the ground with his leg in a splint while two caretakers look over during a practice medical scenario Image by Jaime MacFall

Suggested Items to Bring

The following items should be packed for each class:

  • Backpack of the kind you typically bring on an outdoor excursion
  • Raingear Tops and Bottoms
  • Water Bottle (1 liter/quart or larger)
  • Watch with second hand (or digital with seconds)
    • Note: a phone is not equivalent and is not recommended for this purpose.
  • Notebook with Pen / Pencil
  • Hiking boots or Sturdy Hiking Shoes
  • Lunch: There is a refrigerator and microwave available for use; there are eating places within walking distance if this is not possible for you.
  • For Winter classes (or even cooler fall/spring classes), please also bring additional warm layers. You will spend extended time outside sitting, standing or laying down. Please bring a warm hat, gloves/mittens, base layers (top and bottom), warmth layers (fleece, wool sweater, snow pants, etc.), and warm socks. You will add layers when going outside and can remove layers when you are back inside. We do not recommend cotton which loses its ability to hold heat if wet.

Every instructor teaches their class differently, but these items may be useful in class as well as in the field:

  • Headlamp or Flashlight (don’t forget extra batteries/chargers)
  • Pocket Knife
  • Sunglasses and Sunscreen
  • Small Diameter Cord (like parachute cord), anything from short 10 inch lengths to about 40 feet or more
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Trekking/Hiking Poles
  • 10’ X 10’ 4-6 mil Plastic Tarp (for shelter building)
  • Bandanas/Cravats of any kind
  • Gear you may have with you on your typical outdoor adventures, like ski poles, climbing slings or rope, etc.
  • For a winter course, feel free to bring plenty of extra warm layers for outside scenarios. We recommend you bring them in a backpack or other similar pack you would have with you while hiking, biking, etc.

loding-infoLocal Lodging Options

Three people roll over a victim with a splinted leg and touch their spine in a medical scenario

Lowell Hotels

There are numerous hotels within Lowell and the surrounding area. A simple online search is recommended to find more options. 

Campus Recreation Center On-site Accommodations

Basic affordable lodging is available at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) and includes showers, locker, kitchen (microwave, fridge, sink) and sleeping on the floor of a large room. Participants will use sleeping bags and sleeping pads and should be prepared to sleep 'camp' style on a hard floor. (Please bring your own, or email: to request to borrow.)

Lodgers will sleep spread out across three different rooms. The Campus Rec. Center will be open to normal users every day. Lights will be on and people may be working out and using equipment in the building; opening and closing time for CRC users varies by day and season. (During WFA in the academic semester, open gym hours are generally weekends 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. During WFR over winter break, open gym hours are typically 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekends.)

Accommodations will be available from 8 p.m. starting the night before your class starts and ending the last day of the course. Please choose the appropriate registration if you need lodging.

Please email: if you need to add or change your existing registration.

course-locationCourse Location

Three people sit outside on the leafy ground under a tarp in a practice medical scenario Image by Michele Caggioni

Address: Campus Recreation Center (CRC) address: 322 Aiken St. Lowell, MA 01854. Get directions to the CRC using our interactive maps.

The course will be held in the Campus Recreation Center Room #111, the Meeting Room.

Parking: Free parking can be found in the East Garage (East Parking Garage (EPG) 47 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01824). Parking gate is meant to be open during the course, or you may call the on duty attendant at the parking gate or overnight host for access. See parking map. Students are discouraged from using hourly street parking.

course-site-policiesCourse Site Policies

a woman in a practice medical scenario outside smiles with a splint on her arm Image by Jaime MacFall

registration-optionsRegistration Options

On the registration page, please use the drop-down menu to choose your appropriate registration to request lodging and/or CPR, depending on the course for which you are registering. Please email: prior to the course start if you need to change your existing registration.

WFR Registrants may choose to pay in full upon registration, or may choose the option "Deposit & Pay Later" in order to make a deposit now and be billed for the remaining cost. The remaining amount will be due approximately one month before the course start date. We will contact you directly about your registration to invoice you accurately.


When the class shows as full, you may register like normal and will automatically be placed on the waitlist. There isNO financial charge to be waitlisted; the system will, however, ask for your credit card information so you can be charged if a spot comes open. You will not automatically be moved into the class if a space opens. Instead, please watch your email as you will need to accept the spot in a timely fashion.

Cancellation & Refunds

Full refund for WFA is available for cancellations requested more than 4 weeks prior to course start date. Within the 4 weeks before your course, refunds are only possible if the course is otherwise filled on its start date. Most typically our classes end up full but only with sufficient notice for those on the waitlist; if you must cancel, please do so well in advance for a better chance to get a refund.

Full refund for WFR is available for cancellations requested more than 6 weeks before the course start date. Within the 6 weeks before your course, refunds are only possible if the course is otherwise filled on its start date. Most typically our classes end up full, but only with sufficient notice for those on the waitlist; if you must cancel, please do so well in advance for a better chance to get a refund.

If you wish to cancel your WFA or WFR registration, please email Kate Ford at: as soon as possible so we can try to fill your spot.

For participants who are unable to participate in the class due to illness or other major extenuating circumstances one to three days before the class, we will try our best to fill your spot. If we are unable to find a replacement, we will ask for some sort of proof of the circumstance and we will refund you 40% of your spot.

Participants are expected to be responsible for arriving on time and prepared for the course. Those who register for a course but do not show up on time or fail to complete the certification successfully will not receive a refund.

Alcohol, Drugs, & Tobacco

It is our mission to provide healthy and safe outdoor recreation experiences. Alcohol and illegal drugs are PROHIBITED on OAP trips and courses. We represent UMass Lowell on our trips and we follow the university's zero tolerance policy even while away from campus. Consumption and/or possession of alcohol or drugs while attending an Outdoor Adventure trip or event will be handled through the appropriate UMass Lowell authorities. If you carry personal medications you must indicate this on your Health Statement and keep it in your possession while on the trip. UMass Lowell is a smoke free campus.

Harassment & Discrimination

No harassment of any kind will be tolerated by participants or staff during any Outdoor Adventure trip or event. The Outdoor Adventure Program strives to be sensitive and supportive of cultural and individual differences—specifically those differences due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status. We encourage respect and appreciation for the diversity of all participants and staff and we hope you will do the same. It is your responsibility to report any misconduct to Outdoor Adventure Program staff or the Program Coordinator immediately.

Equipment Use

The Outdoor Adventure Program seeks to provide what equipment we can to participants in order to provide a safe and fun experience. Participants are responsible for equipment rented to them by the Outdoor Adventure Program. Participants will be responsible for paying for any damaged or lost equipment as assessed by the Outdoor Program Coordinator.

For WFA and WFR classes, our Outdoor Adventure Program provides to the whole class extra sleeping bags, sleeping pads, trekking poles and the like for use in scenarios. Individuals may request in advance to borrow items for overnight accommodations.


Pets are not allowed on the course site. Any student bringing pets to class will be asked to leave class until the pet is safely situated in a kennel or other facility.