Seems about this time of year with the change in the weather, I get into this ‘be prepared mode’. I probably go out into a wilderness setting more in the Spring and Summer, but the elements, light and the occasional lost hiker prompt me to at least share my concerns about being prepared and safe.
The just recent cases of an Oregon lady supposedly lost in the Mt. Hood Wilderness and the recovery/deceased of another woman in the nearby State of Washington raised my awareness to an internal process in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions: The consulting with experts to evaluate your probable chances of survival given the factors: were you prepared (gear), do you have a history of knowing how to conduct yourself in the wilds, the weather, the terrain, your known health/fitness factors, etc.
I want to share some very interesting stats and time line markers re the search and termination of the search should you become lost. The resources are very fascinating and should be read and shared.
“Oregon Health & Science University emergency medicine researchers set out to develop a model that could be used by search and rescue teams to determine when a search and rescue (SAR) mission could be terminated without abandoning potential survivors. The model found time to be the most important variable in determining whether a person will be found alive. Ninety-nine percent of people found alive were found within the first 51 hours after being reported missing. Their findings are published in the most recent edition of Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.“
“The model found a high rate of survival for people found within 17 hours of first being reported missing, a moderate rate of survival for those missing between 17 and 51 hours, and a low rate of survival for individuals missing for more then 51 hours. The analysis also found people reported missing in May through October were less likely to survive, as were people older than 60. Individuals reported missing on land were more likely to be found alive than those reported missing from a water-based activity.” (Read the entire report)
The SAR Missions are now, and probably have been, but now it is more openly presented, using these timeline markers and ‘experts’ to decide if the search will continue. If you are lost, you need to stay safe, composed and alert to SAR operations trying to find you. If you are family/friends of the lost person, the difficult decision re termination of SAR ops will be presented to you given the above timelines at some point. The probabilities of survival will be used to protect the searching resources. A fact of life, maybe a fact in death. Be prepared!!!