October's team training was another SAR-O-Rama event during which team members — both longtime and new Academy graduates — had the opportunity to visit six stations (out of a choice of 11) over the course of the day. Anyone who hankered to try out a metal detector could do so, and many jumped at the chance to drive the Gator or to be introduced to the ins and outs of the IC trailer. There was a low-angle rope-rescue station and several opportunities to learn patient care and packaging, including wilderness assessment and care. An introduction to search management was taught at one location and at another, members learned how to download tracks from a GPS. One station introduced tracking and another navigational skills. Throughout the day, as some refreshed old skills and others learned new ones, all were aware that everything we learn is perishable without practice.
SAR team members had the opportunity to reach some new heights September 19 at the Diablo Rock Gym. Thanks to arrangements made by Matt Shargel, some members – both adult and Explorer – took to the rocks for the first time and others reacquainted themselves with their climbing gear. This event not only proved to be good exercise and practice for agility and strength, but it was also a teaching moment for trusting teammates as they held the belay lines for climbers.
The September full-team training was held in the senior community of Rossmoor in Walnut Creek. A handful of role players got “lost” and/or “hurt” and the team set about to find them. About 80 SAR members showed up to trudge the streets and climb the hillsides around the valley. In the end, all the subjects were found and treated, including an Alzheimer’s walkaway who ventured to the dog park; her desperate husband, who was found on the trails after suffering an angina attack; and two mischievous boys who got themselves in a spot of trouble on a hillside, with one needing packaging and transport. Assistant Sheriff Sean Fawell came out to visit the training and got some insight into the way the Command Post is run.
Hesitation gets the best of all of us at one point or another. Someone drops to the ground in front of you at the County Fair, how long does it really take for you to be hands on and start helping the person? The mentally unstable patient in the May Pinole training – how long did it really take you to get her calmed down? You show up early to a callout, exactly what has to be set up in CP, and how?
August’s full team training was a quick paced, action-packed day of training stations focused on the perishable skills we all need to be at the top of our game. Here is a pictoral recap:
On August 18th, the USAR team met at the ConFIRE training facility in Concord. They worked on lifting and moving heavy objects which included a concrete cube, several concrete slabs. They also lifted a 600+ lb tube 12-14 inches straight up. No machinery was used. All lifting and cribbing was done with pry bars, wooden wedges, 2×4's and 4×4's.
There is a great document describing the process in the Docs area of the ContraCostaSAR.org site. Here is a link to a PDF: RS-1 Module 3-1 Lifting & Moving Heavy Objects
Here is a slideshow of the training:
Once a year, CoCo SAR's Mountain Rescue Group (MRG) hosts the Type I Academy. Part of the curriculum includes an intensive course on map and compass skills. The culminating event is Advanced Land Navigation, where students are dropped off in a remote location, and have to navigate their way to a series of flags before arriving at a final rallying point. This full-day event involves an air-to-ground exercise with the Sheriff's Air Squadron, as well as an advanced ATV training opportunity.
Photos by Andy Csepely and Mark Wilfer
The May team training brought the annual medical extravaganza. It is a chance to apply newly learned skills for those who recently completed Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) training, and an equally important refresher for those who have been on the team for years. The event was held at a new location this year, thanks to the cooperation and generosity of the city of Pinole.
This hands-on training is as real as it gets without getting into an actual emergency. Stations covered triage, patient packaging, extrication, splinting, bandaging, and a variety of other medical scenarios. Put together this year by Caroline Thomas Jacobs, pictured below, the training was a huge success.