EMR Class Celebration

Last night EMR students got together for a social event celebrating the return of their Mondays and alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays. No more bucking the traffic or stressing about getting to and attending EMR class. Mondays and alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays are theirs – all theirs – once again!

All SAR members were invited to celebrate completion of EMR 2013 at the Fuddruckers in Willows Shopping Center.  Proctors, students, or just because … it was for the entire team! 

USAR Breaking and Breaching Training

On Saturday, March 16th, 2013, the USAR resource conducted another challenging USAR training to help expand disaster response skills.  At this training the team learned effective techniques for breaching through walls constructed of different home building materials and rescued a trapped/injured person on the other side.

Take a look at this video recap of the training:

Logistics Promotions

Josh Israel has been promoted to sergeant and Ed Griffith to corporal on the Logistics Division. Josh has been part of the Logistics group for two years and has done an outstanding job as a corporal. Ed Griffith has been with the team for short period of time and has shown great knowledge and enthusiasm for logistics.

Please congratulate Josh and Ed on their promotions.

EMR In Action

Every year, sometimes, right after EMR is over, Type 2 Team members get called upon to use their training in non-search situations. This is team member Steve Webber's story:

"I was at work and we were taking a co-worker out to lunch for her birthday to the Bravo Italian Bistro in Pleasant Hill. 

The waiter had just seated us when another waiter from the back of the room announced that someone was choking and asked if anyone knew the Heimlich. Without hesitation, I sprung from my seat and approached an elderly man (80+) standing and hunched over trying to discard something from his throat into a napkin his wife was holding. 

The man couldn’t speak or cough; he could only spit into the napkin. I let the couple know that I had first-aid experience and asked if they needed help. Both indicated yes. 

In my head, the conversation went: "Okay Steve this is the real deal … I know this stuff."  I turned to the waiter and said "Call 911."  I watched the man’s mouth and throat very carefully: Was he able to cough? No. I also noticed his lips were turning blue and his cheeks were flushed. 

I reached my left arm across his torso and proceeded to administer five solid blows between his shoulder blades. Nothing. I was preparing for abdominal thrusts and I was thinking, “If this guy goes down, I need to ease him down and then jump into CPR mode,” and then, “I am going to hurt this poor frail old guy.” 

Just as I was reaching around to place my thumb and fist above his navel, he coughed out a piece of meat the size of a shelled peanut.  Thank goodness, no abdominal thrusts needed.  He slowly took in some air, then a little more until he regained normal air intake and facial color. 

The waiter, with the phone to his ear, was asking if EMS was still needed.  The man and wife both indicated to the waiter that he is alright and it is okay to call off the EMS. The man wanted to go to the bathroom, but I convinced him to sit and relax for a few minutes. I didn't want him to be alone in case some other complications came post-choking. 

They both thanked me and I returned to my table. Some patrons and my coworkers congratulated me for a job well done. 

Strangely enough I felt calm and confident. It felt natural. For the rest of the day, I only had several thoughts of the incident. It really never hit me that I may have saved this guy’s life. It felt natural – like “just another day at the office.”  Where did this come from?  This is not like me. Then it hit me:  I have been trained by CoCoSAR; this is what we are trained to do. The quality and repetition of our training gave me the skills and confidence to do this. Another life saved by the Contra Costa County Search and Rescue Team."

SAR Word of the Day

positive-declination (1)

noun  / dekləˈnāSHən/
declinations, plural 

1. The angular deviation of a compass needle from true north (because the magnetic north pole and the geographic north pole do not coincide).

2.The horizontal angle between the true geographic North Pole and the magnetic north pole, as figured from a specific point on the earth. 

Wrapping up another year of EMR

It's been a long haul. Last night, first-time EMR students and recerts took the written exam and final skills testing to complete their 2013 certification and officially become/retain Type 2 status.

The Command Staff extends their deep appreciation to those proctors and instructors who continue to give hundreds of hours in support of the students each year along with a special thanks to our Medical Squad for the outstanding logistical support. The class would not have been possible without all of you.

Medical Detail: Diablo Trails Challenge

CoCoSAR started off its 2013 medical detail season today with the Diablo Trails Challenge (DTC). Next to the June County Fair , the DTC is the largest event CoCoSAR has to support and is a good way for team members to exercise first-aid skills.

The race consists of a 50K, a half-marathon, a 10K and a 5K run on Mt. Diablo. The 5K, 10K and half-marathon all began and ended at Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek. The 50K was a point-to-point run beginning at Round Valley Regional Preserve and finishing at Castle Rock Park. All course distances are challenging with steep climbs, descents and creek crossings. 

Start times were 0700 for the 50K, 0900 for the half marathon, 0920 for the 10K and 0940 for the 5K. CoCoSAR teams manned the course before the first started gun went off and until all runners crossed the finish line. The last 50k runner finished in ~10.5 hrs. at approximately 1730 hrs. 

CoCoSAR team members provided medical support (and encouragement) for runners by staffing seven first-aid stations. Members of the bike team also patrolled part of the route to offer aid if needed. Teams treated lots of scrapes, bumps and bruises, handed out many ice packs and took care of a few blisters. Four runners required more advanced, hands-on medical attention.

Congratulations to all runners, with a special shout out to four of our own CoCoSAR team members who competed today: Chris Coelho, John Venturino, Andy Csepely and Alan Mathews.

Mission Summary, March

During the month of March, there were two callouts, but only one became a search.

March 9th
The team was preparing to leave for Brentwood to look for a Danville woman who was considered at risk, but the woman was found shortly after the call went out to the team.

March 16th
The full team was called for a mutual-aid search in Lake County. The subject was a missing 12-year-old last seen the morning of March 14. CoCoSAR was asked to join the third operational period.

The original search was on Cobb Mountain, but after purported sightings, the search had been expanded to Lakeport and Kelseyville. Forty-one searchers from CoCoSAR were on scene. Some were sent to Cobb Mountain, while others conducted an urban search, handing out flyers door to door.            

CoCoSAR was handed the management of the entire search for that period, which meant managing over 100 searchers. Marin County took responsibility for one division and CoCoSAR the other.         

Communications were very difficult and the search was logistically challenging, but it went smoothly. After several hours, the girl turned up at her brother’s home in Santa Rosa.