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University of Utah doctor offers classes to keep people outdoors and out of the emergency room

Posted at 8:05 AM, Sep 27, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 has pushed more people into the outdoors, but with that comes more injuries.

That’s why a doctor at the University of Utah is offering classes to help keep people out of the emergency room.

Whether it’s dealing with injuries on the mountain, escaping flash floods or what to do in an avalanche, Doctor Natalie Bonthius is hoping to help keep people safe while exploring all Utah has to offer.

“I love hiking, exploring the canyons, just going for drives in the winter, I love skiing, and you know pretty much everything outdoors,” said Natalie Bonthius, creator of Survival Med.

But with that comes the risk of injury or encountering wild animals.

“We have so many people here in Utah and all across the country that love to hike and climb and do all of these amazing outdoor activities, but not a lot of people know what to do if they get in trouble out there,” said Bonthius.

That’s why she created Survival Med, teaching people how to survive in the mountains.

“Everything from minor cuts and scrapes on the trail, from falling off your bike, to so much more serious things, like drownings, avalanche burials, and people getting lost and calling search and rescue teams to come find them,” said Bonthius.

In the three-hour online class, Bonthius teaches things like wound care, what to do in the event of a snake bite, and what items to take to get off the mountain safely.

“It’s really important to know how to stabilize those injuries and keep people alive and healthy for as long as it takes to get them to the hospital,” said Bonthius.

Jon Umber recently took the survival course, he comes from a military background and has taken numerous training courses on safety, but he wanted a refresher and signed up for Survival Med.

“Knowing I was going to be out there on some unfamiliar terrain, I really wanted to make sure I was up-to-date on some of my first aid training, just in case something happens you know, it’s always better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” said Jon Umber, Survival Med student.

The information Umber learned in the class has helped him to feel more secure on the mountain.

“I think being prepared is one of the biggest things you can do when you’re out here on the trails, you never know what’s going to happen, it’s always good to travel with a friend but if at all possible just being mentally prepared and knowing what to do in these scenarios,” said Umber.

Bonthius hopes she can help at least one more person to feel confident in themselves no matter what scenario they find themselves in while enjoying the great outdoors.

Bonthius wanted to make the classes affordable and accessible.

It’s 45 dollars to sign up and the students can take the class at their own pace. Classes will go throughout the year.

For more information on how-to sign-up visit