Austere First Aid (AFA)

Course Overview
Target Audience
Course Objectives

This course introduces the concept of extended care in low-resource environments where definitive care may be severely delayed or inaccessible and provides an awareness of a body-systems-based approach to medical care.

Faculty: Austere Medicine
Course Name: Austere First Aid
Course Code:  AFA
24 Hours
Mode: Face-to-face
Level: BLS with extended scope austere protocols

Prerequisites: Participants must be at least 16 years of age. Minors must have parental consent.

Packaging: This course is delivered over three (3) days. Part-time courses must be approved by the Curriculum Director.

Instructional Strategies:
This course combines lecture-based instruction with practical application. Instructional strategies include pre-reading, lectures, discussions, demonstrations, practical application, simulation, and presentations.

Effort Breakdown: 9 lecture hours, 9 practical hours, 4 simulation hours, 2 assessment hours

Certification: Upon successful completion of the course, participants receive an internationally recognised certification from Austere & Emergency Medicine International in Austere First Aid (AFA), valid for three years. Re-certification can be achieved by attending a refresher course.


  1. Introduction to the Austere Environment
  2. Anatomy & Physiology of Critical Systems
  3. Medicolegal Considerations
  4. Introduction to Medical Ethics
  5. Introduction to Medical Record Keeping
  6. Patient Assessment
  7. Infection Prevention & PPE
  8. Austere Basic Life Support
  9. Critical Issues with Critical Systems
  10. Management of Anaphylaxis
  11. General Trauma Management
  12. Environmental Medicine
  13. General Austere Medicine
  14. Austere Protocols 1-4

The Austere First Aid (AFA) course is specially designed for hobbyists, enthusiasts, or trip crews operating under the guidance of external activity providers. While higher qualified medics will be present, this course addresses the need for basic training to enable crews to respond effectively in emergencies. Crafted to instill essential first aid skills, the course ensures that individuals engaged in recreational or educational activities can provide immediate assistance until professional medical help is available.

Key participants for the Austere First Aid course include:

  1. Hobbyists and Enthusiasts: Individuals engaged in various hobbies or recreational activities, where access to immediate medical care may be delayed, and resource limitations could impact the health outcome for the patient.

  2. Trip Leaders or Crew Working with External Activity Providers: Leaders participating in outdoor or adventurous activities under the supervision of external providers with higher levels of training.

  3. Adventure Enthusiasts: Those involved in outdoor adventure pursuits, emphasizing foundational first aid knowledge to enhance safety during recreational activities.

  4. Community and Club Members: Members of community groups or clubs engaging in group activities, where basic first aid skills are crucial for ensuring participant well-being.

The Three-Day Austere First Aid course aims to equip participants with fundamental skills, including CPR, wound care, and injury stabilization. While higher qualified medics may be available, the course ensures that individuals involved in activities in remote places possess the knowledge to respond promptly to emergencies. The focus is on practical, hands-on training, empowering participants to handle common medical situations encountered during recreational or educational pursuits. This course enables hobbyists, enthusiasts, and school teachers to contribute to the safety and well-being of their groups, fostering a culture of preparedness and responsible engagement in various activities.

On successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the Austere Environment: Acquire comprehensive knowledge of the challenges posed by austere environments, focusing on their impact on medical interventions.

  2. Introduction to Anatomy & Physiology of Critical Systems: Develop a foundational understanding of critical anatomical and physiological systems, emphasizing their significance in austere medical scenarios.

  3. Medicolegal Considerations: Explore the legal considerations specific to providing medical care in austere environments.

  4. Introduction to Medical Ethics: Understand the basic ethical principles and considerations in the practice of medicine in austere settings.

  5. Introduction to Medical Record Keeping: Understand the importance of maintaining accurate medical records in austere medical contexts.

  6. Patient Assessment: Develop advanced patient assessment skills tailored for austere environments, prioritizing critical medical conditions.

  7. Infection Prevention & PPE: Learn and apply advanced infection prevention measures, including the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in austere medical settings.

  8. Austere Basic Life Support: Demonstrate advanced proficiency in BLS techniques, encompassing chest compressions, rescue breaths, and airway management in resource-limited environments.

  9. Critical Issues with Critical Systems: Address critical issues related to key physiological systems, focusing on their management in austere medical conditions.

  10. Management of Anaphylaxis: Acquire advanced skills in recognizing and managing anaphylactic reactions in austere settings, implementing appropriate medical interventions.

  11. General Trauma Management: Develop proficiency in assessing and managing a broad range of traumatic injuries commonly encountered in austere environments.

  12. Environmental Medicine: Identify and manage medical issues related to environmental factors in austere locations, including hypothermia, heat stroke, altitude sickness, and other conditions.

  13. General Austere Medicine: Gain a comprehensive understanding of general medical presentations and interventions relevant to austere settings.

  14. Austere Protocols 1-4: Familiarize yourself with and apply the first four austere protocols, emphasizing their practical application in medical scenarios.

  15. Synthesize Knowledge for Effective Austere Medical Care: Integrate knowledge gained from the course modules to effectively respond to medical challenges in austere environments, demonstrating sound decision-making and adaptability.


  1. Attendance Requirement: 100% attendance is mandatory to pass the course. Reasonable adjustments will be made where practicable.

  2. Physical Fitness Requirement: A certain level of fitness and strength is necessary to fulfill the duties of a first responder in emergency situations. Failure based on physical criteria is not discriminatory but practical for the role's demands.

  3. Written Exam: The written exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. A pass mark of 80% is required to successfully complete the written component.

  4. Practical Assessments: Formative and summative practical assessments are conducted throughout the course. Summative assessments include simulations and mini-codes. Competent performance of all skills is essential to pass.

  5. Exam and Class Outcome: It is possible to pass the written exam and fail the class if practical competency is not achieved.

  6. Conversely, it is possible to fail the written exam and pass the class if exceptional practical performance is demonstrated, and adequate knowledge of the curriculum can be demonstrated through other assessment activities.

  7. Re-exam Opportunity: If a participant fails the written exam, a verbal re-exam will be provided to offer an opportunity to showcase their knowledge.

  8. Special Accommodations: Participants with language difficulties or divergent learning needs can request a verbal or alternative style of exam. Reasonable accommodations will be made to facilitate a fair assessment process. Note: The assessment criteria aim to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of both theoretical and practical competencies, promoting a well-rounded and capable Austere First Aider.

Preview Video

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