November 20, 2009

Wilderness First Responder Course planned

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Sometimes emergencies happen far from a physician or a hospital. Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center will host a pair of intensive wilderness medical training workshops to help participants prepare for those “what if” situations.

The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course teaches participants how to deal with medical emergencies when health care professionals are too far away. Wilderness medicine isn’t traditional first aid. Rather, it provides improvised and resourceful patient care in the field, typically in rugged or remote environments. The training program is for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds -- hunters, outdoor educators, guides or those who simply enjoy spending time in remote areas.

The course runs from about 8 a.m. Jan. 6 to about noon Jan. 14, 2010. In addition, there will be a hands-on Open Recertification course from about 8 a.m. until about noon on Jan. 17 for those who have previously completed the first responder course. Completion of the training provides a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates.

“After taking the Wilderness First Responder Course, I found myself appreciating the confidence I gained in knowing how to handle emergency situations in the outdoors,” said Travis Geske, assistant program coordinator at Touch of Nature Environmental Center. “When cell phones do not work and help is hours away, having the knowledge and skills of a Wilderness First Responder can not only help bring your friends home safely from a trip but it could actually help save their lives.”

The Wilderness First Responder training and the Open Recertification workshop include classroom instruction and simulated full-scale rescue simulations. Both are fast-paced programs covering patient assessment, body systems, equipment improvisation, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, backcountry medicine, wilderness rescue and more.

“Fully submerging myself into the Wilderness First Responder curriculum helped me grasp the concept of wilderness medicine in a way that a normal classroom setting could not provide,” said Brian Croft, outdoor program leader at Touch of Nature Environmental Center.

The cost of the Wilderness First Responder training is $595 for commuters and that covers all training and lunches. Those who stay at the camp will pay $795 for all training, meals and lodging. The recertification training cost is $250 for commuters or $350 for those staying at Touch of Nature. A $100 deposit holds a spot for either program; the balance is due the first day of class.

For complete registration details and forms, look online at or call Erik Oberg at 618/453-1121. For additional information about the curriculum, contact Wilderness Medical Associates at 888/WILDMED or 207/797-6005.