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.
July 29, 2011
Search and Rescue Community Outreach
Fourteen kids participated in the program, ranging in age from seven to fourteen. During the initial overview of what Search and Rescue is all about, there were lots of questions -- bear encounters was a theme that kept coming up -- and requests for SAR stories that had taken place in the area.
After a few stories, we divided the kids into two groups and had some fun with navigation, gear, and hands-on, simulated patient evacuation with the backboard and Stokes litter.
Here, Pete does show and tell with the ten essentials from his backpack...
Meanwhile, Al and Dave teach some navigation to the other half of the group....
Next, we did a bit of pretend SAR. In this photo, the injured subject has been located and packaged in the litter...
The kids help Bob, Pete and I evacuate our patient (who was a very enthusiastic actress)....
After the groups swapped places and had a chance to do everything we'd planned, we did a little impromptu technical rescue demonstration (with an imaginary cliff)...
After we wrapped up and the campers left for lunch, the camp host said it had gone really well and the kids must have had a great time ... because they didn't even once ask about their usual snack break. We were then invited back for next summer.
One of the ongoing requirements for being a member team of the Mountain Rescue Association is doing community outreach and PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue), so we'll be doing more presentations and interactive programs in the future, for both children and adults.
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