These are my stories as a volunteer member of the Sheriff's Search & Rescue team in Coconino County, Arizona. I'll share what it's like to go from a beginner with a lot to learn to an experienced and, hopefully, valuable member of the team, as well as the missions, trainings, and other activities along the way.
About Coconino County
About Coconino County
Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.
March 8, 2008
Never Too Early for a Joy-Ride
In our briefing, under the heading of "Subject," we're given Jason's age, ethnicity, height and weight, and the fact that he's wearing all black clothing. It also states, "Reported to have ETOH on board." I have no idea what that is, so, going by the context, I sort of assume it's a drug. But I'm soon corrected when Al explains that ETOH is a fuel additive that gives the machine extra power. (I didn't know ATVs needed extra juice; they seem plenty powerful to me in their "natural state.") I'd have thought that detail would have been listed under the heading of "Vehicle," but anyhow.... We're also informed that Jason has with him a Mini-maglite, cigarettes and a lighter. And he has no known medical conditions. I hope, given the circumstances, that that last bit of information still holds true. Darkness, trees, ditches, cinder hills and a souped-up ATV don't necessarily mix all that well. And there's some indication that Jason may have tied one on--or at least had a few--before he went for the ride. I'm thinking this isn't sounding so good. As Al drives, I'm silently reviewing what I learned in Wilderness First Responder class about initial scene and patient assessment. This time, the blood and broken bones might just be for real.
We're almost at the campsite now, bumping along a dirt road. Deputies have already been out in the area, searching, and the DPS helicopter is in the air for an "NVG" (Night Vision Goggle) flight. But .... oh. Nevermind. Jason just walked into camp. Code 4, we hear over the radio. His ATV broke down somewhere along the powerline. Well, we don't rescue ATVs, so back to The 105 to unload we go.
Later today, at 1:00 in the afternoon as Steve and I are finishing lunch at our favorite pizza joint, my pager goes off again. I call in and hear that a father and three young children got their ATVs stuck in the mud. I hang up without leaving a message, to think this one over for a minute. So we have to go pull them out of the mud? Do I want to do that on this lazy weekend afternoon? But seconds later, that becomes irrelevant when my pager goes off again. 10-22. Mission cancelled. Boy, that was fast.
At 4:50pm, the pager beeps for the fourth time today. By now, Steve and I are at home. I call in and Sergeant D's message states that there has been a snowmobile accident with injuries, and the medics need assistance with access. He says that he needs volunteers who can drive snowmobiles and the thiacol. Well, I did drive a snowmobile about 12 years ago up at the North Rim. Does that count? Probably not. We have a SAR snowmobile training session coming up on March 29th, which I'm scheduled to attend, so I guess I'll have to wait till after that. Still, I wonder if they could use my help anyway. But it doesn't matter now; a fifth page with another 10-22. What a day!
Just came across your blog and am really enjoying reading your postings.
One comment, I believe when they say someone has ETOH on board it means they've been drinking alcohol. ETOH is short for ethyl alcohol.
Southern Arizona Rescue Association
Southern Arizona Rescue Association ... hmm. I'll have to Google that and see where you're from.
Anyhow, I thought the same thing when I saw "ETOH on board" in the official briefing on the day of that search. But I didn't think they'd use slang in the briefing, so I asked one of my teammates for an explanation, and he said it was some kind of fuel additive to make the thing more powerful. If I had to venture a guess, though, I'd say your assessment would be correct, too!
Anyhow, thanks for stopping by my blog.
P.S. Jim, I just visited the Southern Arizona Rescue Association site at www.sarci.org. I see, like our team, you all are in the process of getting a new building. We have a shell right now but not yet the funds to finish the interior. It'll be nice when it's done; then most of us won't have to drive so far to the SAR building when our pagers go off, cutting down response time.
We, the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA) are working toward a permanent home. It will nice to finally have our own place and not have to worry about leases ending, moving, etc. One of these days....
Sounds like SARA works a bit differently than Coconino SAR when it comes to call response. When we get called out we'll generally respond to a rendezvous location (not our HQ) before then moving to base camp.
I think the whole ETOH on board thing is officer/medic slang. I've definitely heard it from our deputies and also came across a reference on-line at:
Post a Comment