SAR Member General Discussion

Discussion in 'Search, Rescue and Technical Skills' started by Reno Lewis, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Just wondering how many members are active or retired SAR? GSAR or otherwise.

    I've been with my local squad for a year, went through a 5 month provincial cert, and I've been operational for about 7 months. Been on roughly two dozen tasks so far.

    I'd love to be able to talk with anyone who is involved with SAR in any capacity. Gear (both personal and squad), advanced training, stories, etc. Anything relating to SAR really.
     
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  2. McKROB

    McKROB Member

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    St John's Rovers 6th SAR for just over seven years now. At a guess we do about 1/3 police evidence searches, 1/3 recovery, 1/3 lost persons, about 70-80 active members.
     
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  3. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall ESEE Knives / Randall's Adventure & Training Staff Member

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    We are in the early stages of forming our team in association with the Red Mountain Park Rangers in Alabama. We should be up and running by the first of the year for the local work and then be statewide by the end of 2017. Small team to start with but all the legal foundation has been laid, training agenda set, etc. Most all of the members each hold several different certifications related to SAR as well as half the team being certified law enforcement in Alabama.
     
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  4. Expat

    Expat Expat™ Knives Staff Member

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    I'm in the Salvation Army Reserves. Does that count?
     
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  5. Panzer

    Panzer Member

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    Retired from being a volunteer SAR. 10 years as a ground pounder, crew leader and ops guy.
     
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  6. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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    I'm an Operations Sargent (what we call our IC or Mission coordinator) in Lewis and Clark County SAR here in Montana. Been doing this for 13 year now. I've been enjoying watching Jeff post all their Tech rescue training photos on their facebook!
     
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  7. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Glad to see a few members here chiming in!

    Quick question for all of ya. What do you choose to carry for an overnight? I know our vastly different locations (and seasons) will play a huge part in what gear we carry, but I'm still curious.

    I know a few guys on my squad who like to go ultra light, and a few who prefer to be super comfy when the time comes to spend the night. I'm still trying to find what I like the best.
     
  8. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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    Man, That question could legitimately be in it's own thread. It is also one of the questions I get the most from new members. Everyone joins up and is ALL ABOUT learning what kind of gear the should get. I totally understand the excitement and I think anyone on this forum gets it. We all like gear and being outside. The funny thing is, that you'll discover the more you learn, and the more experience you get, the less gear you need and the lighter your pack will become.

    Equipment and gear is kind of my specialty and I teach it to our new members. The trick is ( and I usually have an advantage here because I'm involved in making the plans) to try and identify the likelihood of a mission going overnight prior to heading out. Or at least that is important here in Montana. Our shoulder seasons end up making the majority of the weather patterns for the year here and we have the difficulty of terrain that is rugged or high in altitude, or deep enough wilderness to cause for concern. We will have warm days that can drop drastically in temperature as soon as the sun dips behind the mountains on the horizon.

    At a minimum my ready pack contains items for an 'unexpected' overnight at all times. This also happens to be the state of my ready pack for 90% of the call outs we do. This is important because you never know when the simple mission will turn difficult. Examples could be: You are part of a hasty team trucking light and fast down the trail in the early evening and find something that changes the whole plan and now you need to step it up and stay the night. You may have had plans to be exfiltrated by a helo only to have the ceiling come down unexpectedly and now they won't fly. Any sort of unexpected (or even expected) weather could surprise you and you need to hunker down and wait it out. You could be searching for someone and then find them injured and now need more help to get them out, and have to wait for the Calvary to arrive... which almost always takes longer than you'd think.

    The other 10% of the time, we know going into the mission that we will be having people spend the night and we let them know ahead of time. This is not only good logistically, but it would be kind of a dick move as a coordinator to 'surprise overnight' my teams just to see if they have the right gear with them (though I have been tempted a time or two...). Typically for a mission that goes overnight and that we know will have teams in the field overnight, their ready packs get traded over for more backpacking sized packs and the gear switches. I can go into what sorts of things I like to see in packs if you like, but its going to be detail heavy.

    I can tell you that I personally strive more towards an ultralight mindset. I find that a vast majority of the times you spend staying out overnight, you'll be awake the whole night doing stuff and not have time to set up a camp and hunker down for some sleep. So why bother carrying the kitchen sink.
     
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  9. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    My pack tends to be in line with most other members, weight wise. I try to keep it right around 20lbs, give or take a couple, not including the weight of my radio harness.

    When we go out, we are required to be ready for 24 hours in the woods on our own (usually teams of 2-3 locally).

    The one overnight I had to do with SAR (so far), I tried using an SOL Escape bivy in conjunction with a Thermarest, and a 5x8 tarp. It didn't work very well. Plus, I found I really dislike having my boots off in the bush.

    So now, I'm carrying a completely different set up. I carry two spare core layers, one lighter fleece that I can wear during the colder days, even if I'm moving, and a heavy wool Stanfield's shirt for down time. I also carry a merino buff, and heavy wool toque. Whenever we go out, I'll almost always have a marked Gore Tex jacket with me. On top of that, I'm carrying a USGI poncho which allows me to hunker down while keeping my kit, and boots on. It allows me to get up and do some exercises to get my core temp back up, all while maintaining a water and wind resistant barrier. It also functions like a tarp if we have to cover a stretcher or subject.

    I also carry an SOL emergency bivy, and 2 person blanket. Those are reserved for a real emergency.
     
  10. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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  11. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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  12. mtngoat

    mtngoat Member

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    I really want to get involved with SAR in SC but where I'm at they mostly do water recoveries and I am not looking forward to diving for bodies. I have to get my rescue diver certifications from PADI and should be on my way to get started.
     
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  13. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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    Hey just do what you enjoy doing with SAR. It's almost always a volunteer organization, so no one can force you to dive for bodies if you don't want to. I personally choose not to dive for SAR, because I enjoy diving in a nice clear ocean looking at cool fish, rather than at the bottom of a muddy lake feeling for bodies because I have 6" of vis. Only plus side to diving is that you can't smell them... what... it's true.... #sorrynotsorry
     
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  14. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    So I just got back from my first 3 day tracking course... 1/3rd the way to receiving my Track Aware certification.
     
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  15. DYSPHORIC JOY

    DYSPHORIC JOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome. Congrats. Enjoying this thread.
     
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  16. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    Awesome buddy! Congrats.
     
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  17. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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    Tracking takes work. Good job.
     
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  18. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    Thanks guys. Tracking is a lot more interesting than I had originally thought... I think I've been hooked. I'm sore, scraped up, completely exhausted, and I'd do it again in an instant.
     
  19. Montanan

    Montanan Member

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  20. Reno Lewis

    Reno Lewis Knot-A-Challenge Champion

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    We're about to be slammed by three separate storms. The first of which is the remainder of a Pacific typhoon.

    We're just starting to feel the heavy rain. No winds yet.

    Just got back from our monthly general meeting at the Rescue Hall, and we are on high alert for both potential flood rescue, and sandbagging.

    Here's hoping it's not as bad as expected...
     

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