Indian Affairs | BIA First Aid Project

BIA Wildland Fire First Aid Project 

2016 WFR Training Pic The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Branch of Wildland Fire Management is testing a Wilderness Medicine Curriculum designed for non-medical professionals, such as wildland firefighters. The endeavor is known as the “Wildland Fire First Aid Project.”

 The Project certifies and maintains currency for 45 Wilderness First Responders (WFR) who are specially trained  to manage complex logistical medical transports, respond to prolonged patient care, mitigate extreme environmental conditions, identify  and use improvised equipment and how to interface with local EMS responders.

 Prior to lunching the Project in 2013, the BIA approved first aid guidelines & protocols with assistance from a physician advisor, and in accordance with industry best practices. These protocols give Indian Country wildland fire employees the authority to  operate within their scope of practice and receive training designed to help them prepare for wildland medical situations.

 Long term goals of this program include developing NWCG training courses that provides a formalized mechanism that requires all firefighters have the basic knowledge, skills and abilities of wilderness first aid. 

 For more information and to request nomination forms for future Wilderness First Aid classes, contact Course Coordinator, Michelle Moore, at (208)-387-5811, or via email at

 2017 Training Schedule

  • March 6-10 - Wilderness First Responder Training in Navajo followed by four 8-hour first aid classes Navajo, Zuni
  • March 20-24 - Wilderness First Responder Training in Mobridge, South Dakota  
  • April 10-14 -  Wilderness First Responder Training in Billings, MT  
  • April 17-21 - Wilderness First Responder Training in Oklahoma City, OK 
  • May 1 -5 - Wilderness First Responder Training, Coeur d'Alene ID

Policy Supporting BIA Wildland Fire First Aid Project:

  • BIA Safety and Heath Handbook (page 11) OSHA CFR 1910.151(b) states, "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies should be readily available."
  • OSHA Best practices guide fundamentals of a workplace first aid program defines “First aid is emergency care provided for injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available. The first-aid provider in the workplace is someone who is trained in the delivery of initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while awaiting arrival of EMS personnel.”
  • 2011 BIA Blue Book Chapter 9 page 20 “Medical emergency response is not a function of Wildland fire suppression resources,” Wildland firefighters are not trained and equipped to perform emergency medical response duties and should not be a part of a pre-planned response that requires these duties. When Wildland firefighters encounter emergency medical response situations, their effort should be limited to immediate care (e.g. first aid, first responder actions they are trained and qualified to perform).”