December 17, 2014

Wilderness medical training classes available

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting two intensive wilderness medical training workshops for students and other outdoor professionals and enthusiasts.  

The Wilderness First Responder Certification Course will take place Jan. 5-13, 2015, at Touch of Nature Environmental Center, about eight miles south of Carbondale off Giant City Road. Participants will learn how to handle medical emergencies that occur when calling 911 isn’t possible or help is too far away. 

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Full Course or the Wilderness First Responder Open Recertification Course.  To arrange a visit to Touch of Nature to obtain photographs, interviews and/or film footage, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or email Oberg at

The course will cover patient assessment, body systems, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back-country medicine, wilderness rescue and other relevant topics. Those who complete the course will be prepared to handle emergency situations involving prolonged patient care, harsh environments and use of improvised equipment. The class format is fast-paced with instruction each morning and practical skills work covering everything from stretcher construction to full-scale rescue simulations during afternoons and evenings. 

This year, for the first time, SIU students may earn three credit hours for completing the class. 

All those who successfully finish the course will receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the wilderness medical training company providing professional instructors for the course. 

The cost of the course is $895, including room and board. Commuters will pay $695. 

In addition, there will be a recertification course at Touch of Nature Environmental Center on Jan. 2-4, 2015. The cost is $395 for the complete package or $315 for those who wish to commute. 

The deadline to register for both courses is Dec. 29. Organizers encourage early registration while space is still available. 

The Wilderness First Responder Course and re-certification are collaborative efforts involving Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Wilderness Medical Associates and the Health Education and Recreation Department at SIU. 

SIU students who would like to get class credit for participating in the course should contact Mitch Belsley at 309/253-3634 or by email at to register or for more information. 

All others who would like to sign up or obtain more information may contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or by email at