Looking Back, Looking Ahead–The Resource Year in Review

Bicycle Resource
The Bike Resource was involved in number of medical events throughout 2012 and participated in many aspects of team training, including UNO, as part of the Type 2 Academy. Most recently, the Bike Resource participated in team medical events for the Mount Diablo Challenge Bike race and the Lafayette Reservoir Run.

Primary goals for 2013
- Hold a Bike Resource Orientation Academy for new members
- Organize monthly training rides
- Organize optional weekly fitness rides for all members
- Participate in team medical events


Canine Resource
The Canine Resource had some significant accomplishments in 2012. They included certifying two trailing-dog teams and recertification of an area and an HRD (human remains detection) dog team. Also, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) policies were revised and the resource added three trailing-dog teams and a new puppy (trailing and firearms) for a currently certified handler.

Primary goals for 2013
- Certify four trailing-dog teams
- Recertify an area-dog team
- Plan for water training, a trailing seminar, and to revise the SOP training manual



Equestrian Resource
The Equestrians are probably the smallest resource, with four current members. Meeting the rider / horse requirement has been the focus of 2012.  The resource is similar to the canine resource in that each member must practice more with his / her “partner” individually than during monthly trainings.

Primary goals for 2013
- Increase numbers.
- Research and develop ways to have those who do not ride or own horses participate


The Explorers had a busy 2012 and added 12 new Explorer members to the team; getting them through the Type 3 Academy with six carrying on to Type 2. That took a lot of work with many experienced Explorers acting as coaches and proctors.

The Explorer rafting trip in August was a lot of fun, but also an excellent team-building training. Explorer Capt. Kevin Clark led one of the SAR-o-Rama trainings on patient assessment and this event provided an excellent leadership opportunity for him.

A “treasure chest” geocache hike was a big hit in November. The Explorers had to follow clues via a topographical map, a GPS waypoint, and a compass, among other clues, to lead to a chest full of treasures (movie items and chocolate) hidden at OES.

There were several fun trainings, as well, at the local climbing gym; PR events; and several Explorers went through the EMR class.

Primary goal for 2013
- Take a leadership role in some of the team’s trainings such as SAR-o-Rama


Metal Detector Resource
The Metal Detector Resource continues to be a valuable part of the team by assisting local law enforcement units recover evidence at crime scenes. The resource has a strong group of core members and several new Type 3 academy graduates. Many of our searches took place during regular business hours to meet the needs of the requesting agency. Fortunately, enough members were able to take the time mid-week to meet all metal detector callout requests.

During 2012, the resource was asked to locate (or eliminate the possibility of their location through due diligence) weapons and ammunition on several occasions, including an extensive search of a block-long juniper bush in Richmond’s Iron Triangle.

Primary goals for 2013
- Build the capabilities of its current members
- Increase the number of members who are well-trained enough to handle any callouts


Mountain Rescue Group (MRG)
The MRG held a successful academy with two new Type 1 members added to the callout roster in 2012. During the year there were also numerous Type 1 searches in a variety of terrain, from the coastal range to the high Sierra. The snow and ice re-accreditation team trained hard for its March 2013 test date.



Primary goals for 2013
- Pass another recertification effort in snow and ice
- Maintain continued readiness for challenging callouts in difficult Type 1 terrain
- Increase the Type 1 callout roster to 35 by the fall of 2013


Tracking Resource
The focus for 2012 was on building new skills so that at a moment’s notice, members could follow a subject’s trail without falter. However, just as importantly it has been about educating the full team on how to protect precious tracks, preserve clues that can aid in the discovery of a lost subject, and to teach a searcher how to raise his/her acuity as a ground-pounder.

Primary goals for 2013
- Continue to be an educational resource focused on teaching track awareness, clue protection, night-vision and thermal-vision tactics, etc.
- Continue to define and refine the resource’s collective tracking techniques so they can be taught to all team searchers
- Spread among the membership – during academies, full-team trainings and the 2013 Tracking Academy – the concepts and importance of tracking. Sign (or spoor) is everywhere – 25 percent of the team understands this; the tracking sergeant wants the other 75 percent


USAR Resource
During 2012, the USAR Resource successfully implemented a two-tier training program (one advanced and one basic); had a strong turnout and enthusiasm at all of its training events; added to the state USAR mutual-aid list; and grew its full-team USAR Type 4 readiness through team trainings and the SAR Type 3 Academy.


Primary goals for 2013
- Develop the USAR Ops Guide
- Expand USAR’s Type 3 numbers
- Develop strong Type 3 team leaders


Welcome to the “Neigh”borhood – Equestrian Notes

By Melissa Madsen

You may have seen one of the team’s larger four-footed team members at a training or on a search this year. The Equestrian Resource wants to introduce itself to the team at large.

Here are a few fun facts about horses that relate to SAR:

  • Did you know a horse can pull a heavy object? Horses have been used as draft animals for centuries. Think of the stokes litter on your hike out of UNO, or how about those heavy medical bags with oxygen tanks?
  • Horses can travel 20-30 miles per day at a moderate rate of speed.
  • A horse is quiet while traveling and thus a mounted searcher may hear a weakened cry from a lost person.
  • Horses may travel on fire roads, single tracks or go four-hoofing (off trail) to cover search areas.
  • As a prey animal, horses have a very good sense of smell and hearing. They are keenly aware of their surroundings for small movements. The SAR saying is “Look where the horse looks.”

Here are a few safety tips for all team members:

  • Be calm and quiet. Sudden moves can cause a horse to shy (jump sideways).
  • Approach a horse from a 45-degree angle to shoulder. This is the best way for you to be in a horse’s line of sight. Do not approach directly in front or behind a horse. (Remember, horses can sleep standing, and although they can see almost 360 degrees, they have a blind spot to the direct front and rear.)
  • The safest way to lead a horse is with a halter and lead rope. Don't hook your fingers through the halter straps, rings or the bit. If the horse pulls away, your fingers could be caught, injuring them or catching your hand so that you are dragged. Never loop lead ropes, lunge lines, or reins around your hands or any other body part.
  • Never stand directly behind a horse.
  • If you must pick up a horse’s foot or something off the ground near a horse, DO NOT squat or kneel around a horse. Bend over so that if the horse moves, you can get out of the way quickly.
  • Remember, most horses weigh 1,000 to 1,200  pounds.
  • We encourage all members to come and pet the horses and get  to know them, but only if the owner is there. Our horses must be people- and animal-friendly, but the horse may like things done in a certain way.
  • Do not feed a horse anything without consulting the owner first.  Keep hands clear of the horse's mouth. Horses can very quickly become greedy and mistake fingers for carrots or other treats.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots that will protect your feet if a horse steps on them. No sandals or thin shoes! (Remember the 1,200 pounds.)
  • When tying, use a quick-release knot or panic snap so that if the horse gets scared and pulls, he can quickly be freed. The feeling of being constrained can make a scared horse panic to the point of hurting himself or you.
  • The safest place to stand is beside the horse's shoulder where you can see each other. When moving around a horse, you should be able to touch it with your elbow, or stay at least 10 or more feet away.
  • Never attempt to help a horse that is panicked. If a horse is in trouble and thrashing about, wait until he calms down and stands still (if able to stand) before you try to help him. Again, even the most gentle horse can cause deadly injuries because of his sheer weight and power, so wait until it is safe to untie or untangle a horse that is in trouble. Remember, your safety is paramount.

If you are interested in or have experience with horses, contact Equestrian Resource Sergeant Gerald Fay for more information about the resource.