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#122143 - 10/10/09 10:37 PM So you want to volunteer for SAR
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Well, here I am, unemployed. What do I do? Instead of sitting around waiting for people to call on my resume, I join the Sheriff's SAR team as a volunteer.

Hey, free food! Not to mention carpooling into the wilderness. Or helicopter-pooling!

But - we supply most gear other than radios and GPS units, and my regular backpacking gear is more than I want to carry. SAR isn't about comfort and enjoyment, after all, and we're out for a day most of the time. So. I can get away with one of my quilts, I'm sure, and probably the NeoAir, or since it's not about comfort and I'll be exhausted enough after bushwacking all day, a foam pad. Possibly it might just be a case of stuffing them in my larger daypack with the ten essentials and warm clothes, and away I go. Throw in the 13 oz tarp and I'm covered.

I'm wondering about adding a very light bivy, however, just because. I know that the tarping isn't as bulletproof as a tent in rain, and at any point we may be out for more than one day, unexpectedly, in whatever weather the lost person went out in. If I take a down quilt, wrapping it in some waterproof or at the very least water resistant cover, might be wise.

I've also thought about leaving the tarp and taking a Gatewood Cape. Dual use! I have a Driducks poncho, but going cross country with a SAR team is not the same as whistling down a trail, and those are fragile. In reading about the Gatewood it sounds like it isn't as fragile as the ducks.

1) anyone here using the Gatewood Cape? at 14 oz it's attractive and dual use. I sort of like the idea of taking one, plus a large trash bag or 2mm plastic or tyvek for ground sheet. Anyone have issues with rain spatter or setup? My claustrophobia likes this option better than a bivy bag. Drawback is as always with poncho/tarps - what if you have to go out for a midnight catholing in the rain?

2) thought about adding velcro and drawcord, and making the driducks a dual use down quilt cover. But it's flimsy and I'd have to start all over again with modifying a new one when I wear holes in it. Or - I could use it even if I get a poncho/tarp solution, sew shut the head hole and foot end, and make it a dedicated quilt overbag - it's light material. It would last longer that way. Cutting off parts and sewing rather than using velcro would probably lighten it up to maybe 5 oz.

3) Equinox silnylon/nylon bivy - cheap, 6 oz, but is it a condensation trap? Anyone used one? Was looking at the Six Moons Meteor but that's a summer bivy, and SAR is year round. The Equinox looks like it could be rolled down open and a bug net added to make it a summer bivy. Not really liking the bivy much, but I'm curious to hear from anyone who has used them how it worked for them, especially in the Sierra Nevada.

Whatever I do, it's got to be lighter than my hammock/quilt/tarp combo and fit in a day pack to make sense. So it must be lighter than four pounds total. I'm trying to stay light as possible without resorting to an emergency blanket and cutting up branches to make one of those primitive shelters they're probably going to train me to make. One of the old timers told me at the last training to get a saw! The Gatewood would also give me the ability to shelter someone else in a pinch, so I'm favoring that or the Wild Oasis at the moment.

Of course, I'm unemployed, so want to spend wisely....

Suggestions or feedback? Any veteran SAR folk around want to pitch in?
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122144 - 10/11/09 12:26 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
Rick Offline
member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 708
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I'm have no SARS experience, let me say that right up front.
I do have some experience bushwhacking - lots of it. The type of forest is black spruce, willow, alder and dead fall - and all of it dense. Something like this:

A poncho does not work. It is forever getting caught on branches and schrubs. I also find that my use of arms is somewhat limited compared to a rain jacket. I'm moving branches, steping over logs, crawling under logs, all of which require the use of my arms for balance etc.
The only type of clothing that works for me off trail is a good quality Rip Stop Nylon rain suit, gaiters, and a rain hat. I also always carry Mcnett Tenacious Tape and a needle and thread.
Good for you to be thinking of volunteering.

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#122150 - 10/11/09 08:43 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: Rick]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I am a poncho fan, but Rick is right.

For rain gear I would wear DriDucks with wind shirt and pants over the top of the DriDucks. About the same performance and weight as eVent at a fraction of the price. I think the best wind pants are Wal*Mart lined pants with the lining cut out.

For a pad I would use 3/8" Gossamer Gear ccf pad supplemented with a BackPackingLight TorsoLite pad.

For shelter I would use the DriDucks poncho in "turtle" mode. Stake down the four corners leaving a good bit of slack then guy the hood to an overhead branch. Leave enough slack that you can slide under the side.

The Jacks'R'Better Stealth would make an excellent quilt. and If you have any down time the Stealth worn with the DriDucks poncho will make you the envy of your peers.

I would carry it all in a zPacks Z1 with the ccf pad as virtual frame.

I would not go out without a stove. Maybe a FireLite Titanium Wings Stove inside a 850 ml pot.

Thank you for your service. thanks

_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#122152 - 10/11/09 09:34 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Lori, your profile doesn't say where your are but here in Texas, I've done a few searches and have gear designed for our climate.
When the space shuttle Columbia went down, I did several days of searching in East Texas...in sleet, rain/mud, and learned a lot from that search. The only over night gear carried stayed in the van, where I slept. Searchers came in at sundown every day, and re-grouped in the morning. So, I didn't carry anything in my pack for over night other than a Robinson poncho, space blanket, and other emergency stuff. I've yet to participate in a search where overnight camping was expected.
I learned that a rain suit worked well for most situations...until...we got into clearcut and deep forest. My rainsuit is now a punctured mess due to the wild rose and brier. Barbwire fence will destroy your rain gear.
I now wear Walls...yes cotton...coveralls, both insulated and not, that I've waterproofed with a good DWR. NOTHING gets through those. I've been soaking wet and they were still warm. In summer, military utilities work well but you still want to be protected from stickers and barbwire. Good tall, waterproof boots are a must....walking up a cold creek seems to always happen in searches.
I'll haul an umbrella and rainsuit sometimes, and park under the poncho in really heavy rain. My pack is a Go-Lite "Day" and seems to hold up great. I bring at least one ski pole as a trekking pole. I could spend the night if I had to.
Just remember, in a search, you are working tasks that are more demanding and unexpected than a pleasure trip. Ultralight has it's place but most gear needs to be heavy duty and in some cases, expendable.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#122156 - 10/11/09 11:00 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: ringtail]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Mixed ideas... the Gatewood Cape is silnylon, the Driducks will shred in manzanita like tissue paper. And I'm not at all sure that either is truly what I'll need for the job - except the Central Sierras are not densely wooded, much of the time we are not crashing through trees but alders, manzanita and berry bushes - when we are not walking through open forest. The rain shell and pants I have are pretty sturdy, with zips in the usual spots. I'm thinking of packing everything in the Nimbus Ozone and using the compression straps to best advantage. Since the Granite Gear pack won in the Backpacker stress test, it'll probably manage okay. Hoping to keep it to about 20 lbs.

I'm already looking at wearing jeans or canvas instead of the usual zipoffs and probably a synthetic tee or base layer with a heavier buttondown, maybe cotton/nylon blend. One thing about the SAR, you are never alone and there is always the possibility of being transported back on the next jeep or copter if you are exhausted or hurt.

I already have a couple of 3 season JRB quilts, not with head holes, but I've found the Hudson River to be equally comfortable in the temps I have experienced up there already - 50 to 25F night temps are common til late October. I'm not certified for winter searches yet and it will take time to be, so I'm not concerned about lower.

I have a GG 1/4" and a regular old blue ccf. Will probably trim the ccf to torso length, it's about an inch thick, and stuff it in the pack. I won't have to carry food, but will have a ziplock of clif bars, beverages, and a mini atomic and a foster pot stove, in a carrying case made of ziploc screw tops that I can easily fit a cozy to and keep the beverage warm.

My concern is shelter at night, which is why I'm looking at things like the Wild Oasis or the Gatewood. I don't know that the driducks poncho will give enough coverage, it doesn't really work well as a poncho with a fully loaded backpack on either - not made for it. It has no loops for tying down either, I'd have to add them. I'm still thinking about taking the tarp and a lighter hammock, actually. It would make site selection a total breeze.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122159 - 10/11/09 12:01 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
Originally Posted By lori

I already have a couple of 3 season JRB quilts, not with head holes, but I've found the Hudson River to be equally comfortable in the temps I have experienced up there already - 50 to 25F night temps are common til late October. I'm not certified for winter searches yet and it will take time to be, so I'm not concerned about lower.


The Stealth is the right loft to wear under a wind shirt and DriDucks. The combination gives you deep winter warmth. The No Sniveller is no advantage because the wind shirt compresses the loft.

Originally Posted By lori
I won't have to carry food, but will have a ziplock of clif bars, beverages, and a mini atomic and a foster pot stove, in a carrying case made of ziploc screw tops that I can easily fit a cozy to and keep the beverage warm.


I prefer ESBIT because it makes a better fire starter. The alcohol is not much good below 40 unless you warm it with body heat. In the winter I carry the wing stove, wind screen and about a half dozen ESBIT in the pot - the lighter needs to be in your pocket. The other container is a two cup screw top ZipLoc with a cozy and inside are two Swiss Miss and two Lipton soups.

Originally Posted By lori
My concern is shelter at night, which is why I'm looking at things like the Wild Oasis or the Gatewood. I don't know that the driducks poncho will give enough coverage, it doesn't really work well as a poncho with a fully loaded backpack on either - not made for it. It has no loops for tying down either, I'd have to add them. I'm still thinking about taking the tarp and a lighter hammock, actually. It would make site selection a total breeze.


Oops, yes, mine has had the JRB Weather Shield Modification kit added. The stock poncho does not have stake loops. The poncho is just barely big enough for me at 5'10", but you need to watch out for sliding down hill during the night. I have a Gatewood Cape and it is a great product, however when you are on a high exposed ridge sometimes it is difficult to get stable enough anchors to hold it. I own an eVent bivy and actually prefer the DriDucks poncho in turtle mode. OK, I also own a lot of Ti pots, but carry the AGG 3 cup pot. The DriDucks poncho is pretty worthless as a hiking poncho, but is a great cover for the Stealth quilt in camp and makes a great over cover.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#122163 - 10/11/09 12:55 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: ringtail]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, as I've used alcohol stoves at 30 degrees with no problem - and no, I don't keep the bottle in my pocket. And I'm not delusional.

Gear acquisition is going to have to be minimal. I already have alcohol and stoves, and esbit is expensive for what it is.

But I appreciate any and all suggestions, as I'm sure the list for SAR will evolve as the list for backpacking continues to do.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122203 - 10/12/09 09:37 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
k smith Offline
member

Registered: 07/21/09
Posts: 29
Loc: ca

i did sar for 7 yrs with my local dept
but i have no expieriece bushwhacking as i worked on the
dive recovery team so i was always working in and around water
it was a great expierience for me and very rewarding
also
i would still be there but hadtostop due to back surgery

k smith

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#122205 - 10/12/09 10:45 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Lori a third vote against a poncho from someone who has done a lot of bushwhacking and loves ponchos on the trail. in the kind of stuff you'll have to push through doing sar work you will shred a gatewood cape - while it'll make a good shelter it won't work well to wear when pushing bush. In your situation I'd probably just throw my lunar solo and a small sleeping pad an my wallcreeper bag into my daypack - alternatively perhaps just and 8x10 silnylon tarp - a BIG tarp makes it a lot easier make a dry area to crash in, and also has the advantage of being large enough to shelter another team member in a pinch. The ponch will definately work, but just don't count on wearing it for raingear when you are bushwhacking. Personally I think even the dri-ducks will shred.

And I don't think you're crazy for using and alky stove, I do the same, just make sure you can deal with it in inclement weather.

And if you haven't already figured it out, boots and full gaiters. Trailrunners suck for bush bashing wink


Edited by phat (10/12/09 10:46 AM)
_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#122237 - 10/12/09 04:18 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: phat]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Thanks, phat. I'm actually thinking again and wondering if springing for a Sublite (18 oz, full bug protection, made for the Sierras) wouldn't be the thing to do. I won't be sitting in one place for more than eight hours even if it's raining cats and dogs, and it'll work with the trekking poles.

And then I started looking at the Rainbow, 3+ seasons and 2 pounds.... It starts to become another round of gear geeking. I'll start out with just the tarp I have, a light groundsheet, and go from there.

And in light of the current weather forecast, in go rain pants, and a rain shell, both heavier than driducks. In thinking more about the stove situation, I'll be working with the Sierra cup, foil lid, and a small stove. I don't anticipate actually using the stove as the team leader will bring one for group use but I don't like going out without a way to heat water.

I'm used to people questioning my sanity. Gear geeks suffer for their art. Except somehow I'm the one who gets good sleep and has the coffee hot first thing in the morning. Go figure.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122239 - 10/12/09 04:30 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By lori

I'm used to people questioning my sanity. Gear geeks suffer for their art. Except somehow I'm the one who gets good sleep and has the coffee hot first thing in the morning. Go figure.


I don't think it's insanity. Nearly always in my daybag is my usual backpacking cook rig of a penny stove, with stand, windscreen, and 2oz fuel inside an AGG 3 cup pot with cozy. It weighs almost nothing, relatively speaking, and the ability to make a little bit of tea or coffee goes a long way towards my comfort, sanity, and well being in a bad situation. It also makes a nice situation that much more pleasant - I often "brew up" if I'm stopping somewhere for a bit.

_________________________
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#122244 - 10/12/09 05:12 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I am not sure we disagree. I use a Trangia 27 often when I ski -- except I do keep the burner in my inside coat pocket. Alcohol works fine at that temperature, but better if you keep it warm and have a robust windscreen.

When I intend to cook I carry an alcohol stove, but when I carry a thermos and the stove is for emergency only it is ESBIT. It is better as a fire starter and can be lit from below.

If I need to melt snow or treat water I start a fire.

I also should mention that DriDucks seems to become brittle in cold weather. I tore up a set on a single 1 mile in and out snowshoe, and I thought I was on trail all the way.
_________________________
"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
Yogi Berra

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#122252 - 10/12/09 06:21 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
Echterling Offline
member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 52
Loc: USA
Honestly, for SAR, I'd outfit myself with mostly military surplus gear. Cheap, durable, designed for not stopping no matter what the conditions.

I'd think seriously about getting a mil poncho and liner and using that as my sleep system. (I actually do use a poncho liner in the summer, I've treated mine with permethrin).

As for rainwear, I guess it depends on the temperatures you are in. I'd skip the rainwear as much as possible. Take a sweater of some sort to put on at breaks.

Do you have specific high vis gear to wear? If not, I'd look at hardware stores for the high visibility orange with scotchlite reflective band mesh vests that road crews wear.

_________________________
--------------------------
My blog

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#122262 - 10/12/09 07:45 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: Echterling]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Echterling


As for rainwear, I guess it depends on the temperatures you are in. I'd skip the rainwear as much as possible. Take a sweater of some sort to put on at breaks.

Do you have specific high vis gear to wear? If not, I'd look at hardware stores for the high visibility orange with scotchlite reflective band mesh vests that road crews wear.



Hadn't thought of the military stuff - I'll have to head up to the military surplus store for a looksee. Thanks.

They issue us orange, clearly labeled jackets and hats when we're fully qualified and we get good deals on some things, like forty dollar packs. This coming weekend will be our qualifying survival weekend - I'm not feeling much the chop-up-the-woods-for-shelter idea. The storm that's coming through here tomorrow will be cold and wet, so I'm definitely taking something to stay dry, big time. Also the dryer lint and storm matches, lighter, etc.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122281 - 10/12/09 11:27 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
gorge_medic Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/08
Posts: 131
Loc: Kentucky
My disclaimer...some SAR experience, but in the eastern US in broadleaf forest, rather than mountainous areas.

Are you anticipating having to provide for only yourself for an overnight, or possibly providing for a victim for an overnight before a daytime evac? The area I worked in was very small (not really many potential searches that would involve an overnight), but in my pack I carried an 8x10 silnylon tarp and a couple of preformed aluminized bivy sacks made by Adventure Medical Kits (I think they now also offer one made of Thermolite). One for me, one for the patient. I never anticipated actually getting much sleep if I found myself in that situation, more concerned with keeping myslf and possibly a victim normothermic. Tarp would be set up as a roof, using either branches or tekking poles. I think the weight came in at less than a pound. (I should also mention that even winter temps only get to around 0 degrees F at most, barring unusual weather patterns) YMMV

I know that the possibility of an overnight is largely determined by the area you cover, but a RON scenario was one we consciously avoided, and would routinely postpone searches if the urgency wasn't very high. Again, YMMV.

Welcome to the family! I'm hoping that my recent app to a regional team will be accepted soon, SAR is too much fun to just stop doing (kind of like the UL thing...)

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#122292 - 10/13/09 01:21 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: gorge_medic]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The area I'm in is pretty large, and we also do searches in town - Alzheimers folk and the like. Apparently we also help in Yosemite sometimes.

I might already be hooked - the tracking class was kind of fun, and the instructor said I had an "eye" for it.

I've looked at those emergency bivies... the oldtimers appear to carry the heavy reinforced blankets. I don't know that it will ever come to pass that I'm out there on my own with a lost person, however. It's a fairly large group and efforts are made to keep us a group, and it's quite likely there's supplies already in place to handle that. I might have to carry some of it but I don't think I'll need to worry about anyone but myself, in terms of acquiring stuff.

I know the gear will be slightly different than my normal light backpacking gear... I hope to be in a better position to make decisions on what I'll really need after this weekend.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#122301 - 10/13/09 03:24 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Try not to over think it... We are required to carry a minimal 24-hour pack and have a 3-day pack/duffel that will be ferried to base camp for us if the base camp is off the road system. The 24 hour pack is what you need to survive for one day if you get caught out way away from base camp. That doesn't happen very often. Usually the search area is confined to a small zone around the last point seen, or possibly the known point of entry or suspected point of exit. Most hasty teams are kept supported by air or by 4-wheeler or snow machine. It would be very unusual for a search team to actually stay in the field, in the same search area, for a full day. Weather might be a factor requiring a team to hunker down, otherwise the goal is to get search teams out of the search area at night if at all possible. Or at least have a base camp or forward staging area set up.

One thing that I carry in my 24-hour pack is a tyvek painter's coverall. I also have an Adventure Medical bivy which is lightweight and folds to almost nothing. My shelter is a BA Seedhouse. Stove depends on the weather. But truth be told, 1 person on our team does the vast majority of the rescues because he flies in on the helo as a "spotter" and they usually come out with the lost person pretty quickly. Few of our searches last longer than one operational period. Only one in recent memory lasted more than 6 hours. You train to be out for long periods of time, but the ICS team will always strive to get you out of the field within a reasonable time frame. Exhausted searchers are not very effective. Also, SAR is safety-first... they aren't going to send teams into the wilderness in dangerous conditions. Many a search has been delayed or halted due to hazardous conditions.

I'm more into the ICS end of things these days, and much less involved overall in the last year or so. I have limited time on my hands now and with almost no missions requiring ground searches there isn't a great deal of incentive to keep going. I envy the search teams in the lower 48 who actually get to go on missions!


Enjoy it!

MNS
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#122334 - 10/13/09 06:11 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: midnightsun03]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Coming kind of late to this discussion, but I want to commend your for volunteering. Beware! -SAR can be very addictive.

There are a lot of good suggestions here, but I would recommend looking carefully at what older members of the team have found to be useful in your area and on your operations. In your training has anyone reviewed past operations and lessons learned from them?

Mr SAR was in Southern Arizona (about 450 ops, a longtime ago, in a galaxy far, far away so my specifics might not apply to your area. Start with the most reasonable gear assortment you can muster, and tweak, tweak, tweak until you are really comfortable with what you are carrying.

Just a few thoughts:

A good simple cookset is often handy. Trangia was my favorite - dead simple. In colder operations, a team would carry a liquid fuel stove.

Lights are critical, especially a good headlamp. These are much easier to come by nowadays, compared to the 70s. Have more than one, including one on your body

Just be aware that whomever your ICS commander is, Mr. Murphy is really in charge, and he bats last. You made the comment "you are never alone" - Don't count on that. If you do enough SAR, you will be alone at some point, perhaps with a victim to care for. Most searches are over in a matter of hours, but the range can vary from 5 minutes to two weeks (or maybe twenty-nine years - a ranger we looked for very intensively is still missing in the Chiricahuas).

Oddly enough, SAR often comes down to a mental exercise, often quite challenging intellectually, as you try and put yourself in the shoes of the victim.

Volunteer SAR is the most useful, most fulfilling activity I have ever undertaken. I hope you will find it to be the same. Best of luck.

smile




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#122448 - 10/15/09 01:26 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: oldranger]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By oldranger
Coming kind of late to this discussion, but I want to commend your for volunteering. Beware! -SAR can be very addictive.

There are a lot of good suggestions here, but I would recommend looking carefully at what older members of the team have found to be useful in your area and on your operations. In your training has anyone reviewed past operations and lessons learned from them?


There hasn't been a lot of review of past operations in the trainings I've been to re: equipment... I do have their basic gear list. They do say prepare for the unexpected overnight. I think I am more prepared than most, actually, judging from questions of others.

The problem is partially that the old members of the team who are not directly involved in trainings are not present, at least at the meeting I went to. I responded to a recruitment drive to replace the defunct membership.

I have a couple headlamps and some very simple and light stove/pot setups. I could probably partially equip others, but there is also the team gear, they do have a lot of stuff like GPS and radios they hand out, so I expect that tweaking my personal gear list won't be that hard.

Quote:

Volunteer SAR is the most useful, most fulfilling activity I have ever undertaken. I hope you will find it to be the same. Best of luck.



Thanks for your suggestions. smile Our local team has already found a couple of people in good shape and some in not so good shape this year - there are parts of the work that I am somewhat dreading, like the possibility of finding deceased folk shocked but I do like working with diverse teams, and this is a pretty diverse lot.



[/quote]
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#122452 - 10/15/09 02:01 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: midnightsun03]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By midnightsun03


One thing that I carry in my 24-hour pack is a tyvek painter's coverall. I also have an Adventure Medical bivy which is lightweight and folds to almost nothing. My shelter is a BA Seedhouse. Stove depends on the weather.


I tend to overthink everything! but am trying not to get too much into anxious nitpicking. smile

Is the tyvek for rain or general protection from brambles and such?

I think I will be getting a AM bivy before I'm through - but will probably wait until I actually go active. Still in the process of background checking and training ATM.

Thank you for your input - I hope that it will be a positive experience, and it seems that will be true based on what others have said.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#122457 - 10/15/09 06:25 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
The Tyvek coverall is for whatever it needs to be for, either rain or wind protection for myself, replacement clothing for my subject, vapor barrier liner to increase warmth in a sleeping bag or AM bivy, groundcloth if nothing else. I believe the one I have is hooded, which helps keep in body heat too, so that is a big reason behind it. It is such a lightweight yet versatile piece of "clothing" that it makes no sense NOT to carry it. I also have a cotton painters hood in my pack too to wear under the tyvek for increased neck/head protection, or could be used to help hold bandages in place for a head wound. Another piece of cheap, light and disposable clothing that makes no sense not to carry.

Most of what we do are body recoveries. In AK we have to share SAR with the Air National Guard 212th squadron (The Jolly Green Giant of Vietnam fame), but they only go in for the live saves. In town the Fire Department wants to be the heros (not to dis them, I have good friends in the FD), so they respond to anything in the front range. We're a part of the Troopers, so we get called out for extensive ground searches (not many happen) or highly technical search/recoveries where the weather is too poor for air response. Our biggest call-outs are for avalanches. Needless to say we do more body recoveries than anything. A couple years ago we recovered the body of a hunter who died of natural causes while hiking. We had to bring in Llamas to help bring him off the mountain. It can get interesting sometimes.

I think I have one of your alky stoves in my 24-hour pack. Didn't you participate in one of the West Coast Earthling boxes?

MNS
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#122479 - 10/16/09 09:27 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: lori]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Body recoveries can be a bit rough, but the positive side is that you bring closure to family and friends. Look forward to the more numerous situations where you find that your actions truly made a difference.

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#122485 - 10/16/09 11:29 AM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: oldranger]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
Body recoveries can be a bit rough,


Very true. The last few searches I participated were "recovery" missions. We sometimes work with a cracker-jack dog group that is amazing. Interestingly, not all searches are in the boonies. During the last two hurricanes, we were searching city/urban areas, on concrete. I always like the creeks and woods, but then I'm the comm guy and sometimes get stuck in a trailer or at a desk. The thing about SAR is, you do as you're assigned, and it's never what you expect.
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#122490 - 10/16/09 01:10 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: Dryer]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
That is very true. That was actually the point I was trying to drive home the other day in my "Intro to ICS" lecture for our new recruits. I gave them a quick overview of the ICS structure and then pointed out that as a trained search team they are the "worker bees" in the ICS structure. All they have to remember about ICS, at this point, is that their job is to sign in when they get there, sign out when they leave, and follow the instructions of their group or team leader while they are there. You never know what you might end up doing.

Body recovery is definitely important work because resulution is important for the families whose loved one has gone missing. I had a family member go missing for 4 months once and that became the absolute focus of our world. He turned up alive at the end, thousands of miles from where he disappeared (Left IA, showed up in NM). Once he turned up we were able to resume our lives.

MNS
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#122492 - 10/16/09 01:30 PM Re: So you want to volunteer for SAR [Re: midnightsun03]
Dryer Offline

Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3591
Loc: Texas
Quote:
ICS structure....


Uh...yeah...the ICS structure. The paid city/county/state Emergency Coordinators do the "revolving door" thing so often around here, the ICS goes out the window, even at drills. "In an emergency, all plans are off." grin The 'worker bees' pick up the pieces and, no surprise, the job gets done.

We had a family friend go missing for 6 mos. once. Turned out, it was a mother/daughter spat and the kid ran off to California...and remained "lost" until she decided to be "found". There were at least 5 area searches during that time, all looking for 'remains'. CERT teams are the new kid on the block, gotta say...serious worker bees!
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paul, texas KD5IVP

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