First Aid & CPR


This course is designed to teach students the basics of care and treatment of injured individuals in a wilderness context. Upon completion, the student earns a Wilderness First Aid and CPR card. To see Cal-ESAR's requirements for qualifying medical courses, please look here.

When & Where

Current Cal-ESAR Candidates and Members: Please log in to the Member Portal for schedule and location details


This course is a hybrid course—there is a online component and a classroom, hands-on component. Candidates are expected to complete the online material before showing up at the weekend session. The class breaks out like this:

  • A month before December

    • Wilderness First Aid Online

    • CPR Online

  • Day one

    • CPR Hands On

    • Wilderness first aid skills instruction/comprehension test

  • Day two

    • Wilderness first aid scenarios

About the online component

You will not be able to successfully complete this class and receive certification if you do not complete the WFA / CPR online material and test before you get to class. It is strongly suggested that you start this portion of the class immediately after Into Nav class. The online component replaces hours of learning basic knowledge via PowerPoint lecture and devotes face to face time to knowledge review/clarification, advanced topic instruction, questions / answer and hands on scenario work.

Built into each module of the WFA course is a self test/review of the material in the module which addresses the key ideas. At the end of the online course is a comprehensive exam which is drawn randomly from the pool of questions asked in the modules. This exam has a minimum passing score. Failure to pass the final calls for a retake with a different set of questions drawn from the same pool. Second failure generates a new test. Third failure invokes instructor interaction. This test must be passed to qualify for the field work.

Skills emphasized

  • Rescuer safety

  • Universal precautions

  • Scene assessment & management

  • Primary survey

  • CPR

  • Care and treatment of closed and open wounds

  • Fractures & splinting

  • Heat & environmental emergencies

  • Shock

  • Transport of the injured

Gear: First aid kit

A basic First Aid kit is a mandatory piece of gear every individual must carry for deployment on any SAR mission. Here are a couple suggestions.

Standard First Aid kits are good starting points to carry as part of your personal kit. We strongly recommend you add the following items to your kit for SAR:

If you have a first aid kit in your car, consider customizing to handle trauma associated with vehicle accidents. Some suggested additions:


Q: I have a schedule conflict and cannot make the course listed on training calendar, what do I do?

A: You are free to take any qualifying course at your convenience. A description of what courses qualify is described here.

Q: I already have my certification. Is there a recertification option? Can I test out?

A: Contact the Training Director for options

Q: I am a physician/medic/paramedic/EMT/etc. Must I take Wilderness First Aid /CPR?

A: No. If you have equivalent or higher medical certification scan your Certificate as a PDF, name it "Last Name-First Name-First Aid Cert" and send the file to

Q: When must I complete my CPR/1st Aid class?

A: You need your certificates before our OES swear-in.