Training Recap: CoCoSAR Rope Rescue

photo (10)CoCoSAR team members gathered at Shell Ridge May 18 for the first of the four-part summer rope-rescue training program jointly hosted by the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) and MRG (Mountain Rescue Group) resources.

Rope-rescue skills are an important component of Mountain Rescue and USAR training but are also extremely useful for the whole team's knowledge base. The rope rescue trainings have been designed for multiple levels and are open to all team members – from those new to rope rescue to seasoned veterans.

The May training split the group into three parts, each designed to challenge and expand team members' skills: advanced for those with technical rope know-how; intermediate for those who have had some rope rescue experience and want to take their skills to the next level; and basic for novices.

Three Reasons You Should Do The Upcoming Type 2 Qualifying Hikes–Even If You’re Not Qualifying

photo (12)

1. Build Your SAR Conditioning
Searching requires hiking, and the best way to condition yourself for hiking is to hike – with a fully loaded 24-hour pack. Getting out and climbing some hills with your pack on builds and maintains the exact muscle groups you're going to need when that callout comes. Doing a timed hike is also an opportunity to benchmark where you currently are with your conditioning. 

2. Build Your SAR Knowledge
Chances are, you'll be hiking with fellow team members who have different skills and experience than you do and chatting as you go is a great way to learn from each other (and keep your mind off those hills). At the last qualifying hike, new team members were able to get detailed information about communications and radios from a more seasoned team member who's an expert in those areas. 

3. Build Your SAR Friendships
Nothing creates camaraderie like supporting your fellow team members! It's also a fun way to get social and learn more about people with whom you might not be familiar. That connection will pay dividends at the next training or callout.

Larry Fong will be organizing Type 2 qualifying hikes every month, between now and October. The June and July Type 2 qualifying hike dates are now available for sign-up on the website. All team members must sign up if they plan on attending, so Larry knows to expect you and can safely manage the hike. (If no one signs up, he won't be there, or have proctors and hiking company in place.) If it's unavoidably last minute/same day, please text Larry on his cell to let him know you'll be there (or if you won't, but had signed up).

Team Commendations, May 2013

Nancy Hoffman
Nancy was a key leader in the recent Full team Medical Training at the CSU Campus in May. First, she secured and worked out all the logistics for the training with the campus staff. In addition, Nancy provided and guided many of the medical scenarios before and during the training. We received great feedback that the training provided the teaching points and refreshers that each team member needs.

Ed Molascon
Ed has taken many different assignments through the SAR Team both in front and behind the scenes and we all agree he does them all in an excellent manner. Ed’s work within the team has been described as leader, mentor, encouraging, patient, and tireless to name as few.

Natalie Zensius
Natalie has been recognized for her outstanding work with the recent reorganization of the The Call Out Newsletter. She has changed the direction of the newsletter to an on going source of online information for the team and providing a valuable tool for all team members.

EMR In Action, ctd.

Team member Kristl Bulurun witnessed a cycling accident in Walnut Creek after picking up her son from school:

"A 40-something y.o. female was cycling and went over her handle bars. I and two other witnesses in separate cars pulled over to assist. As soon as I got out of my car, I announced myself as someone with medical training and asked if I could help (got consent!). Also, I had my medical kit in hand as I've always got my gear in my car. 

The subject was initially disoriented and at first said no, but she was pretty banged up and bleeding from her hand and face, so I convinced her that I could help. She said she was a nurse so she kept saying she was fine, but we all know how that goes. Anyway, one witness helped direct traffic and I asked the other witness to assist and hold c-spine while also holding the gauze to her face where she was bleeding (I gave the witness a pair of gloves to put on). The witness' daughter called 911.

I then determined A&O (she was x4) and CMSTP. I also did a modified head to toe, but didn't want to take her helmet off in case she ended up having a neck injury. She only complained of shoulder pain, but I checked for broken bones anyway.

Paramedics & ambulance showed up in about 5 minutes; after giving them an update on the subject, they took over and I stood back.

As the paramedics were working on her, another gentleman who had stopped to help started talking to me and asked what happened. I gave him the rundown and then he asked, "So, are you a nurse?" I replied, "No, I'm with Search and Rescue and trained as a first responder." So then he says, "Oh… search and rescue where?", to which I said, "Contra Costa County", to which he replied, "Oh really? I'm with Contra Costa County, too… I'm the Under Sheriff"


So yes, I was observed by the Under Sheriff. He asked me how long I'd been on the team and I told him not long, but that we just completed our EMR training, so I was glad that it all kicked in. Funny thing he asked was "so… you carry your medical kit in your car???" I said, "Yeah, all my gear is there… you never know when a we'll get a callout."

And he said, "Yeah, you guys are a great team."

OMG. I am soooo glad I did not know who he was until I was done. OH THE PRESSURE!! He was so super nice though. Chatted for a little bit more until the police officer on scene needed a statement.

Anyway, he left after a little bit (he had lights on, so that's when I really knew it was the Under Sheriff). Once they got her on the stretcher, I gave a statement to the officer, said goodbye to the subject, thanked the EMTs & the witnesses, and then left.

I have been hoping for a situation to use my EMR skills (I know… it's a sickness), so this was quite exciting. Plus having the Under Sheriff there really beats all.

The thing is… it's clear to me that it's all because of the training. The importance of those 4 months of EMR and the medical training last Saturday really became clear today. Everything kicked in like clockwork (although I'm sure I forgot something really important). 

So thank you for all our training. Thank you to the entire team for all our training. This situation was so crazy to have been a part of, but I'm so grateful for the skills and the confidence to have done it. "


Fundraising Opportunity – Vote for CoCoSAR!

AAA of Northern California, Nevada and Utah's primary philanthropic focus is to increase the capacity of first responder organizations and multiply the number of citizens that are Rescue Ready™ in the communities they serve. This baseball season, they're bringing new meaning to the term save. Every time a Giants and A's pitcher records a save, AAA will make a $1,000 dollar donation to support disaster preparedness and first responder organizations and programs. 

CoCoSAR is partnering with AAA to help raise funds to further our mission.  We've been added to the "AAA Saves Program" and the more votes we get, the more funds AAA will donate to the team. If we're selected, we’ll receive a very meaningful grant from AAA at the end of this baseball season.

Please take a minute to show your support and vote for us.

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.