Who Saved Scooby Doo?

Search and rescue is not limited to just humans. Jack Peabody and Dennis Lane rendered aid to a 70-plus-pound Samoyed at the Diablo Trails Challenge on April 20. 

An elderly woman hiked out on the Old Finley trail. She approached Jack and Dennis, and stated that she needed help with her 11-year-old Samoyed dog. He was unable to move and she hoped they could help. Without hesitation, they grabbed a tarp, water and a fanny pack. They hiked roughly a mile or more to their four-legged subject. 

Fellow team members were a bit surprised to see them both return sans the dog. In short, the dog was too big and heavy to carry with just a tarp. However, being resourceful CoCoSAR members, they grabbed a stokes carrier, plus backboard, then requested transport aid from an event coordinator. In no time at all the pair had the dog back at the medical station, resting comfortably. When the owner came by with her car, Jack and Dennis helped the woman place the dog carefully in her car. 

A large thank you card was sent to 50 Glacier with a present. CoCoSAR was thanked for its rescue of Scooby Doo. Jack and Dennis were later identified as the “kind and compassionate” members that had rendered assistance. 

Shhh! Don’t tell them that the present was a delicious box of See’s candy. Somehow the box was consumed at the May 1 Command Staff and team meetings. 

When you see Jack and Dennis, be sure to compliment them on their actions. Others of us may have to also thank them for the chocolate treats.


Team Commendations, April 2013

464828_10151446969127157_1682205153_o (1)Micheal and Casey Riggs
The Rescue Twins were nominated for their support of a fellow team member on the second Diablo Endurance Hike (DEH), a Type 1 qualification hike. While both had already certified at a prior DEH event, a fellow team member had not. Knowing this, they volunteered to give up another Sunday to assist her with the second attempt. They faced the heat of the day and provided a guardianship from start to finish with their selected charge.  This is a distinguished example of teammates helping other teammates to succeed. 

Alan Mathews
Alan Mathews was nominated for building, on his own time, an exceptional scale model of a home with everything needed to teach shoring for a recent USAR training. Members commented that the scaled-down structure and scaled shoring equipment were precise in every detail, right down to the scaled-down nails.  Alan spent untold hours of work on a project that helped the USAR instructors better explain and his own teammates better understand the mechanics of USAR shoring and structure support. It was done solely to aid his fellow USAR teammates.

Nancy Hart
Nancy Hart was nominated for her recent contribution, specifically to the Hasty Squad. She developed and delivered a lecture to the Hasty Squad regarding subjects with autism and how to best manage them. In addition, she opened her home for a Hasty mock search in Danville. Her after-action report feedback helped Hasty members understand how CoCoSAR can be viewed as highly supportive to a family or a full-on intrusion, dependent on such simple actions as asking permission to enter, turning off radios to reduce unfiltered CP information, or eliminating nonpurposeful chatter in front of the family.  Her actions helped to raise the professionalism of Hasty members in attendance at both events.

EMR – Who Made It Happen?
While the celebration of the 2013 EMR student and re-certs of EMR has already occurred, kudos have to be extended all the proctors and instructors that supported their effort to pass EMR in 2013.

Over two dozen members of CoCoSAR attended the classes, helped at the labs and provided the support needed for the five skills stations. As proctors, they logged hours equal to the students with the objective of having everyone succeed at the EMR program. Of course the eight instructors have to be given recognition for their contribution to the success of the 2013 EMR program.  

However, of all the contributors, Ed Molascon probably logged the most hours and was viewed by fellow proctors as the hardest working. All EMR graduates and re-cert participants, please take the time to thank Ed for all the work that was done. Consider it a thank you to the over three-dozen contributors to the program. 

Searcher Fitness: Achieving A Neutral Spine Posture

By Jeremiah Dees

The most important characteristic of healthy movement is the ability to stabilize the lower spine and pelvis while mobilizing the other parts of the body; especially the hips, thoracic spine and shoulders. Your focus when doing any type of exercise should be on quality of movement and appropriate muscle activation patterns. 

Exercise: Practice Achieving A Neutral Spine
Sit on a stability ball (or chair if you don't have one) with your feet flat on the ground. Take a deep breath into your belly. Go ahead – let it get fat!  Now exhale. Notice how you got a little bit taller with deep inhalation into the belly. You may also have gotten a little shorter on the exhale. 

Take another deep breath into your belly and allow it to make you tall in your spine. When you exhale this time, stay tall. What did you have to do to accomplish this? Most people report that their abdomen firms up a bit (say 20 percent activation). This is the goal.

On your next big belly breath, you’ll notice that your abdomen doesn’t have to be on when your lungs are full. This is because when you belly breath, your diaphragm is fully activated and it creates postural stability. It’s taken the load away from the abdominal muscles. 

When you breathe out and your abdomen regathers that 20 percent, I would like you to also relax your neck and shoulders. Did your shoulders drop? Congratulations! The weight of your shoulders and arms are now resting on the rib cage, rather than hanging from the back of your head.

Now, take one more deep belly breath. When you exhale this time I want you to also lightly gather the muscles on the backs of your shoulder blades.The key concept here is lightly gather the muscles. They merely aid the drop of the shoulders and position the arms in a functionally stable position.

Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve achieved neutral spine the natural way.  No longer are your muscles playing a tug of war inside your body. Instead you’ve coached them to cooperatively work together in an effort to hold you upright against gravity. 

This strategy is one you’ll be able to sustain for the rest of your life. In fact, with a little conditioning, all these cues to “gather here” and “squeeze there” will become the way you move all the time. 

Next: Bend from the Hips

Announcement: Upcoming Bike Resource Academy

The CoCoSAR Bike Resource team provides a special and unique role in searches, trainings and medical support for community events.  Being a member of this group is a great way for team members to deepen their CoCoSar relationship and skillset. Once a year, there is a Bike Resource Academy for prospective members. Bike Resource Sergeant Reza Farasati explains:

How does the bike resource work?

The Bike Resource serves two primary roles: First, it’s a specialty team sometimes used in searches where bike speed and/or the ability to cover certain terrain is needed. But most recently the primary use of the Bike Resource has been to be present at community events – most typically races of all types – so that participants can be quickly reached in the event of medical emergencies.


Who should join?

All members Type 2 and above who have a road or mountain bike are encouraged to join.


In what type of terrain do you search?

Both urban and rural. For rural searches, a mountain bike is required.


How often does the resource train?

Bike Resource members practice riding to stay fit as often as possible, with the group striving for biweekly or monthly rides. All members participate in a minimum number of trainings per year.


Is there a minimum fitness requirement?

Not specifically, but members need to be able to ride for the duration of any given search or medical assignment.


Why is having a Bike Resource important?

Like all CoCoSar resources, the Bike Resource adds an additional layer of competency to the team. Bikes are used during searches to reach distant areas faster than can be reached on foot, particularly in areas where vehicles cannot go, such as the Iron Horse Trail. They're used in hasty searches and as a support unit to the Command Post (CP) and others. The Bike Resource also provides medical support at many community events such as the Mount Diablo Challenge and other bike and road races.

  • Date:   Saturday, June 29, 2013

  • Time:   9:00 am – 1:00 pm

  • Place:  Sports Basement, Walnut Creek

  • What will be covered:

    • Safety check of bikes and equipment

    • Short ride (few miles) toward Shell Ridge

    • Basic riding skill set check

    • Practice hasty search with bike/look for clues

    • Return to Sport Basement for refreshments

    • Basic bike repairs by Sport Basement experts

  • Upon completion of the Academy – you will be qualified to become a member of the Bike Resource

  • Advanced Training – An advanced training will be held shortly after the Academy (details to be advised)

  • To register for the Academy –  use the CoCoSAR website

  • Interested, but can't attend the Academy? – Let me know and we'll try to make other arrangements for you

  • Interested, but don't have a bike right now?  We can arrange a temporary loaner for you!

Questions? Contact Reza Farasati.



Upcoming Annual Team Member Survey

By Caroline Thomas Jacobs

In the Spring of 2011, we conducted a team survey with the goal of measuring team members’ attitudes about the CoCoSAR. We surveyed three key areas: team member satisfaction, team preparedness, and team administration. It was a comprehensive survey that asked how team members felt about everything from the reasonableness of the participation requirements to the quality of our monthly trainings to the Command Staff’s vision and leadership for the team. The feedback we received has been invaluable and helped shape how we’ve worked to evolve the team over the last two years.                                                         

In 2011, members gave the team high ratings for providing a quality, professional service (92%), search preparedness (92%), and our ability to run monthly trainings (89%) as well as several other areas.  76% of our team members had a "good" or "excellent" level of overall satisfaction with the team.  We were doing many things right.
The survey also highlighted some potential areas for improvement.  Only 34% of team members felt we were good at retaining quality team members.  Only 55% felt we supervised our resources adequately, and 57% felt we had enough opportunities to get to know each other.  As a team, we made addressing these concerns a priority.  Command Staff created a Resources Lieutenant, SAR Social Sergeant, and increased opportunities for new team members to engage more fully in the team experience.
In an effort to continue this learning process, we are conducting another team survey this month.  We will send out the survey via email to the entire team the week of May 20.  Please take a few moments to respond.  Your feedback is very important.  It is your direct feedback that gives all of us the opportunity to strengthen our team and provide a valuable service to our community.

Update: the team member survey is now available. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, May 28th.

Paying It Forward

Hasty Tng Danville April 2013 021By Rick Najarian

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to participate in back-to-back planning sessions at OES for two different upcoming trainings. It struck me how much planning, effort, leadership and participation goes into each of the different trainings that CoCoSAR puts on.

It’s amazing to think about all the levels of all the different types of training that go on in the organization. In any given week there could be trailering, a mock hasty search, ATVs, medical training, canines, technical rescue of one kind or another, field team leadership, navigation, metal detectors, search management, tracking or specialized equipment orientation from Logistics. I’m sure that I’m leaving out plenty of others, not the least of which are our core academies and monthly team trainings, which are major projects in themselves.

Since I’ve joined CoCoSAR, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a fair number of other California SAR teams. I try to learn what I can about how the other teams are structured and how they acquire and maintain their skills. I have to say that I have yet to see another SAR team that is so invested in the initial and ongoing training of their members as is CoCoSAR.

This doesn’t just happen. Every curriculum, every lecture, every exercise has from one to dozens of dedicated team members behind it planning and delivering. Everywhere I look, I see people discovering their passion, gaining knowledge and experience in that area and passing that knowledge and experience on to others. I think that this practice has become one of the main blocks in the foundation of our team. It has resulted in the enormous breadth and depth of skillsets that CoCoSAR brings to the party.

Every one of us has been the recipient of a huge amount of quality training as a result of participation on this team. Likewise, every one of us has a handful of experience and knowledge that we can pass on to other team members. I’d like to encourage each of us, whether we’re formally part of a CoCoSAR training organization or not, to actively seek out opportunities to Pay It Forward. It’s not just about training others; it’s the very best way for each of us to gain a deeper understanding of our own skill sets. It’s also one way to positively reinforce this team’s culture and, as a result, deepen our own sense of our place on the team.

Think about it.

(Photo: Rick Najarian supports April's Hasty Squad Training mock search by posing as roving reporter Dick Danger, from "Mega News." Search Manager Andy Comly subsequently handled the press very well and put them to use in finding the subject.)