Posts Tagged ‘SAR

26
Jul
14

Outdoor/Wilderness Outings: PLAN!

Every year, I have highlighted this admonition, usually for my fly fishing brethren that trek in to be alone while fishing. Be prepared. And part of that is pre-planning and also worst case scenario planning regardless of how competent you are. I am attaching a couple pieces here: one at Traditional Mountaineering and the other re The Spot, a GPS Messenger doodad.

The Traditional Mountaineering post details the 4 personal responsibilities of a backcountry traveler. Note, it is relevent to all backcountry travelers not just mountaineers. These are culled from the State of Oregon Search and Rescue (SAR) protocols and are worth reading about your responsibilities and ‘liabilities’. Although this references Oregon law, I imagine it is similar in many parts of the country/if not also abroad.

Rescue Drills_Smit

4 Personal Responsibilities of a Backcountry Traveler

1. Tell a Reliable Person where you are going, what you are going to do and when you planned to return. Search and Rescue personnel will want to know where you planned to park your vehicle, its description and license number, what gear you have, the names, cell phone numbers and provider information and experience level of your companions. Of course, you must agree that you will call the Reliable Person when you return to the trail head. Also, this encourages your thoughtful setting of a “turn-around” time for your adventure.

The Reliable Person must accept the responsibility for calling the local County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue through 911 with the above information if you do not check in by an agreed-upon time. Your life may depend on a timely call to 911. Experience tells us that the Reliable Person may not understand the importance of this responsibility.

2. The Second Responsibility of each individual backcountry traveler or climber is to be prepared with a light weight daypack and enough extra clothing, water, food and selected gear to survive an emergency stop of several hours or overnight. These Essentials are seasonal and specific trip related and should focus on keeping you warm and dry, hydrated, eating simple carbohydrates, and able to stay in one place. If you become lost, signal your location, perhaps with colored tape or an ordinary bike flasher and/or with a reflective, water and wind proof plastic 9 ounce “SOL Emergency Bivy” sac, and exercise your large muscles at your marked position to generate warmth. Do not try to find your way -becoming exhausted, cold or dangerously wet. Wait at your marked location for rescuers. 

3. The Third Responsibility is to have a detailed topo map of the area, a declination-corrected base-plate compass . Experience tells us that you cannot get by with a cell phone “GPS” (no matter how smart) or a hand held GPS radio receiver alone – you need a paper topo map and a declination-adjusted base- plate compass, and the simple skills to use them together!

4. The Fourth Responsibility is: Carry your common digital cell phone and periodically turn it on to learn where you can contact nearby cell towers.  Insure that you have the personal option to call for medical or rescue services.

spot

This last point re communication touches upon how to reach out and this is where The Spot comes in to assist searchers to rescue you and not waste time searching.

Hiking, photography, fishing, climbing, camping, rafting, mushroom hunting….plan and take responsibility. All the ‘you could be charged’ warnings aside….just out of self respect and respect for the rescuer’s safety too, think about the basics and plan. Being near your car is not enough. A bad fall, heart attack, etc. will probably cut you off from the shelter of your car.

13
Oct
11

Search & Rescue (SAR)…Time Considerations

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.

OHSU Researchers Find Time Is Best Predictor Of Survival In Search And Rescue Missions (July 17, 2007)


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!!!




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