July 30, 2007

Search and rescue class begins Aug. 23

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Touch of Nature Environmental Center will be the site for a Little Egypt Search and Rescue (LESAR) class beginning Aug. 23 to give existing and new searchers invaluable training.

LESAR is a non-profit team of trained Southern Illinoisans who volunteer their time to help others in need. The latest search and rescue tactics, technology and gear will be topics at the free class, which also includes field time and classroom instruction.

Classes will meet at 6:30 p.m., usually on Thursday evenings, beginning Aug. 23, and last about three hours each night. Field training sessions begin at 9 a.m. on scheduled weekend dates. Classes continue for approximately two months. Organizers welcome donations of funding for the organization or refreshments for the classes.

About 70 percent of those attending the course will be new recruits, known as pre-apprentices. After completion of a three-month training and skills set, trainees will become apprentices and be able to participate in additional training, public demonstrations and presentations. With three months experience as an apprentice, LESAR members obtain voting rights and can participate regularly in demonstrations and searches.

Other fire department personnel, police officers, emergency responders, emergency medical technicians, government employees and current search and rescue team personnel will be adding to their knowledge by attending all or some of the upcoming training sessions, too.

Those planning to attend should register in advance. For more information about the class or to register, contact Dana McGuire of LESAR at 618/697-2912 or Erik Oberg, Underway Adventure Programs coordinator at Touch of Nature at 618/453-1122, ext. 260 or via email at eriko@siu.edu. Touch of Nature is seven miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road.