UNO 2014 – 29 new Type II Academy graduates and the CoCoSAR 100

- by John Banuelos

“Give your all to meIMG_1096
I'll give my all to you”

These words come a John Legend song.  How do these words connect to the 2014 Type II Academy? Well, read on.

In a tradition that reaches back to the beginning of CoCoSAR there has always been an Unexpected Night Out or UNO. Many generations of CoCoSAR Team members have gone through their UNO. Everyone remembers and has a special tale to tell about their night out.

On October 18 and 19, for 36 plus hours 29 student were run through stations of SAR skill sets, did endless miles of hiking, conducted multiple mocks searches all through the night into the wee hours of the next day, caught a few hours of sleep, if at all, and then capped off the UNO experience with a final rescue scenario in the post dawn hours. All 29 students persevered. They had dirty faces with smiles. All felt the relief of success as we all ate our breakfast under the old oak tree.

The Class of 2014 gave their all to us. And we of the CoCoSAR One Hundred gave our all to them.

These 29 will merge into the ranks of the CoCoSAR Two Hundred as ground pounders. I hope they join the ranks of the CoCoSAR One Hundred in support of the next generation of students that will attend the next Academies and will go through their own UNO in 2015.

As to the CoCoSAR One Hundred, they represent the ongoing spirit of giving their all. It is with great pride that I present the list of names for the 2014 CoCoSAR One Hundred. There were 111 contributors to the success of this year’s Academies and UNO.

     
Apfel, Judith Hirata, Alan Perez, Edward
Banuelos, John Hirata, Tami Piercy, Dana
Bates, Tom Hirata, Tori Plam, Pierce
Blue, Diane Hoffman, Nancy Poindexter, Roger
Borquez, Leslie Hubbard, Laura Retta, Chris
Boyce, Michael Hubinger, John Riggs, Casey
Buluran, Kristl Hunter, Autumn Riggs, Micheal
Carmody, Laura Huntington, Ron Rodrigues, Itales
Clark, Jim Israel, Joshua Rogers-Engle, Natane
Clark, Kevin Jones, Paul Rogers, Todd
Clymer, Laury Kalan, Jon Rutherford, Pamela
Coelho, Chris Kavanagh, Don Schimek, Brad
Comly, Andy Kovar, Rick Sembrat, Mark
Corum, Jamie Kwan, Vincent Shargel, Matt
Cossu, David Lamb, Steve Shih, Larry
Coyne, Dan Lane, Dennis Soo, Cameron
Csepely, Andreas Langley, Claudia Stein, Roger
Cummings, Michael Lynch, Darren Stinson, Ralf
Cunningham, Katelynn Mapel, Brian Sutter, John
Curran, Dawn Mathews, Alan Thomas, Lauren
Dees, Jeremiah McGraw, Lisa Tiernan, Jeff
Dodson, Patrick McMillan, Michael Tseung, Kerrie
Eichinger, Walter Medearis, Robert Venturino, John
Farasati, Reza Miller, Sheryl Volga, Michelle
Field, Cynthia Molascon, Ed Walker, Patrick
Filippoff, Steven Moschetti, Frank Walley, Bryan
Fok, Eric Moss, Paul Walton, Claire
Fong, Larry Murphy, Tim Webber, Steve
Franks, Randy Murray, Paul West, Paul
Garcia, Linda Murray, Scott White, Howard
Gaughen, Kathy Murray, Wilma Whiting, Mark
Gay, Jim Najarian, Rick Wilfer, Mark
Giberti, Kevin Neidhardt, Richard Witul, Janice
Gore, Natalie Nichols, Chris Wright, Jennifer
Harrison, Robert Novak, Phil Yee, Laishan
He, Henry Pangilinan, Luigi Young, Chris
Healy, Paul Peabody, Jack Zensius, Natalie

Type 2 Qualifying Hike and SARfit

Over a dozen team members participated in the Type 2 qualifying hike on July 21, a five-mile hike on Shell Ridge in Walnut Creek. The path meanders up and down the ridge, through valleys and on and off fire roads.

Every year, Type 2 CoCoSAR members certify on this hike while carrying a 20-pound pack. In order to pass, it is necessary to complete the hike in under 150 minutes.

Team members who have already qualified for the year often come out for the exercise, the camaraderie, and to support their friends (and to ensure those less familiar with the route don’t get lost). It is a great way to spend a couple of hours.

Shell Ridge is Walnut Creek’s largest open space, with trails for biking, hiking and riding through oak woodlands and grassland savanna on the lower flanks of Mount Diablo. Shell Ridge gets its name from the marine fossils left behind when the ocean waters that once covered the area receded.

Archived Medical Articles

Round-up of published medical topics
Several past editions of The Callout, in its prior incarnation as a newsletter, feature great articles and guides for the medical skills required for Emergency Medical Responders, a certification required of all CoCoSAR Type II and Type I team members.

Compiled below is a list of topics and articles with links to the newsletter. The original author, if available, is also noted. (Please note: requires login to the team members' website to view these articles.)

Step-by-step illustrated guides

Head-to-Toe Assessment, April 2011, Page 8

Bleeding Control and Bandaging, May 2011, Page 8

Splinting and the Sling, May 2011, Page 9

CPR

New CPR Procedures, June 2011, Page 10 

CPR and AED FAQS, by Carol and Mike McMillian, February 2012, Page 11 

Vital Signs

Blood Pressure Basics, by Laura Carmody, RN, October 2011, Page 7 

Blood Pressure: A Closer Look, November 2011, Page 12 

Oxygen

SAR Oxygen Pack, by Mike McMillan, August 2010, Page 11

The Little Green Bottle, by Ian Snelson, August 2010, Page 12 

March Full Team Training

10001134_825720180788377_175787097_oMount Diablo State Park again played host to CoCoSAR’s monthly full-team training. The March edition was a Type 2 fitness hike. In contrast to the driving rain and wind that challenged searchers during the February mock search training, the March weather was postcard-perfect.

The hike is a 6-mile loop, circling the upper slopes of Mount Diablo with 1,600 feet of cumulative elevation gain. To maintain Type 2 status, each member must complete the course with a 20-pound pack in under 3 ½ hours.

Beginning from the Laurel Nook picnic area (2,900 feet), the route heads up Juniper Trail to the summit overflow lot (3,700 feet), then down the Summit and North Peak trails to Prospectors Gap (3,000 feet). The descent continues along Bald Ridge Trail to Murchio Gap and onto Meridian Ridge Road. Near the junction with Mitchell Canyon Road (2,000 feet), the climbing resumes up Deer Flat Road, with a difficult final mile back to Juniper Campground.

Larry Fong organized the training and reported 29 team members successfully completed the hike. An additional 30 team members provided support, as roving or stationary proctors on the course, time-keepers, medics and radio communications.

Four other Type 2 qualifying hikes are planned for 2014.

February Full Team Training

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CoCoSAR’s Mountain Rescue Group organized the February full-team training, a mock search in Mount Diablo State Park. “If it ain't raining; it ain't training,” said Chris Coelho, MRG sergeant, as dark gray storm clouds massed overhead and searchers gathered, bright orange and hooded, at the staging area.

Staging did not stay full for long because the search ramped up very quickly. Teams deployed to scour Mitchell Canyon for two missing subjects. “We put 52 searchers in the field within the first 30 minutes,” said Caroline Thomas-Jacobs, demonstrating an adjustment made by Command Post staff, following the mock night search training, in November 2013.

The first subject to be located, played by team member Natalie Zensius, required extraction by a technical rope rescue team. “I had a unique opportunity to experience what it feels like on the ‘other side’ and be rescued,” she said. “In less-than-stellar conditions, I was quickly warmed and stabilized so that I could be packaged and transported down the mountain.”

Shawn Inks, handling communications for Team 4, located the second subject. “I turned around and saw him,” he said, “but it was kind of lucky. The trail was muddy and treacherous, so we were mostly looking ahead and down.”

Weather was a major factor, hampering radio communications, as well as visibility and trail conditions. “If we had to search Mount Diablo in the rain, this is exactly what it would be like,” said Reza Farasati. “The problems we have today are the problems we’d have to overcome in a real search.”

Wilderness Emergency Medical Responder Class

By Joe Keyser

This winter, 16 team members completed the wilderness upgrade to CoCoSAR's Emergency Medical Responder course.
 
This is a hands-on 30-hour course that focuses on applying the medical skills we learned in the EMR course to a wilderness environment. The course tries to answer the question: What do you do when there is no 911 to call? When YOU are 911?
 
Students studied a wide variety of subjects, including patient assessment in the wilderness, environmental illness, musculoskeletal injuries, altered levels of consciousness and many others, with a focus on extended patient care and long difficult evacuations. Evacuation decisions, or how to tell "big sick" from "little sick" were a special focus. The class also spent several hours practicing making improvised splints, litters, and bandages out of tarps, trekking poles, and other items commonly in a backpack.
 
The class had students responding to multiple simulated wilderness medical emergencies. On the last day, the class participated in a simulated mass-casualty incident. This training tested the students' assessment and treatment skills as well as their management and communication skills.
 
Special thanks to: Walt Eichinger, Todd Rogers, John Banuelos, Larry Fong, John Venturino, Mike McMillan, David Hoyt, Laura Carmody and Jim Gay for their help proctoring the class.

Mock Search: November Full Team Training Recap

By Randy Franks

The fewer hours of daylight in fall and winter increase the likelihood of searching in the dark. With Standard Time bringing the onset of darkness even earlier, Contra Costa Search and Rescue used its November full-team training to conduct a nighttime mock search.

Wilma Murray developed the scenario, which was conducted on the Muir Heritage Land Trust’s Fernandez Ranch open space. Scouts and parents from Boy Scout Troop 277 and a few other willing individuals volunteered as the subjects and their distraught families, earning praise all around for not only the commitment of their time, but also well-acted roles and valuable observations during the after-action debrief.

“The guy we found, Graham, I figured he was playing the autistic boy we were briefed to expect,” said Don Kavanagh. “But a couple different times during the rescue, I thought ‘Is he actually autistic?’ He was into it, very well done.”

The scenario involved a small group of 12 and 13 year old boys who ventured into the hills to launch homemade rockets. The volatile fuel source detonated unexpectedly, causing a range of injuries and disorientation. As dusk descended on the hilly 700-acre preserve, CoCoSAR deployed first a hasty squad and then as a full team.

The team used its full range of techniques. The first mission was a hasty search of the Command Post and immediate surroundings, which located one of the subjects in good condition within 20 minutes. He was less than 100 feet from CP, but completely hidden from view.

Team lead Brad Schimek was pleased. “It’s my first find!” he said. “Even though this is ‘just training,’ I’m genuinely proud we found him so quickly.”

Wilma Murray said later, “I placed that subject expecting he would either be found immediately or possibly not at all. I’m pleased that the team did its job and searched the CP. It is not unknown for a subject to be found very close to where searchers gather and still go unfound for several operational periods.”

Some of the team’s specialized resources and equipment were brought to bear on the missions. “[Search dog] Shannon did some good work tonight,” said handler Jennifer Wright. “It turned out our search area did not have any subjects, so no finds, but we were working well together.”

The FLIR night vision goggles were also deployed with John Banuelos’ admonishment: “The subject or clue could be behind heavy foliage, so you’ve still got to be observant. It’s night vision, not x-ray vision.”

Many new Type 2 and Type 3 team members participated. This was their first opportunity to employ new skills in a full-team environment and discover that SAR is “continuous learning.”

Luigi Pangilinan became a debriefer, a role he had only heard about during the academy, but had not experienced nor specifically trained for. “It was difficult, getting detailed accounts of search areas, especially when the team was not provided a map,” he said. “And I got cold sitting there. I really wanted go out on a mission, just to warm up.”

Another lesson emerged from the night’s last find, made by Team 17. After assisting with a live medical event involving a parent volunteer observer, the team resumed its training assignment, making many voice callouts, hearing cries for help, but not locating any subjects within their search area.

Team lead Robert Medearis said, “As we were preparing to return to CP, our navigator was focusing on getting us back onto the trail. The other three of us continued the search behind our navigator. Routine visual sweeps identified the subject down near a large oak tree.”

Cameron Soo, handling medical for the team, said it demonstrated how “we’ve got to stay sharp at all times, like on the return to CP. The assignment was covered, but the search was obviously still on.”

During the team debriefing, Operations Lieutenant Chris Nichols summed up the basic message of the night’s training. “Searching in the dark is hard,” he said to a murmur of assent, “and, this time of year, we should expect to do a lot more of it.”

Beyond Searching: A Menu of Options for SAR Involvement

By Wilma Murray

Here’s a comment that I’ve been hearing a lot lately: I’d like to get more involved in SAR, but I don’t know where to begin. Hmm…attend any team business meeting on the first Wednesday of each month (1930 at OES) and you will most likely hear a plethora of needs announced. Look at the website, read the Callout … you will find there are activities going on behind the scenes every day.

As someone who likes to get into the middle of things, I know a little about involvement (you think?) and am happy to share some tips, both for newbies and for those who are finding themselves with a little more time of late and want to invest it in their SAR “career.” First off: It is not necessary to have a rank (corporal, sergeant, etc.) to take on important SAR jobs, so waiting for that open staff spot isn’t a prerequisite to getting going. What’s more important to consider are the answers to these questions:

  • Do you have ideas/passion/drive for a particular aspect of SAR?
  • What skill sets and talents do you bring to the table?
  • Who might you like to work for and with?

All of these answers are things to examine when looking to find your niche.

It also isn’t necessary to be more than a Type III to become involved. Type III searches don’t come around as often as we all might like, which means Type IIIers don’t see as much action for callouts. But there is still plenty to do to benefit the team and keep it mission-ready. Resources The most obvious choice is to join a resource. While some resources require a Type I or II status, both USAR and the Metal Detector resources do not, and both resources are active. (In fact, the Metal Detector Resource has had a trio of recent searches.) Check the calendar on the website for trainings, but in general, USAR trains the third Saturday of the month and Metal Detector Resource trains the last Monday evening of the month. All levels of skills and capabilities are involved with both resources and both offer bottom-to-top training.

Tracking is another resource that is busy most of the year, with many Wednesday clinics, and is open to Type III members. Tracking Sergeant John Banuelos is always looking for enthusiastic Tracking Academy graduates to help lay tracks for these clinics. The Academy is held each year in the summer (dates tentatively June 17, 18, 19 – continue to check the calendar), but on occasion the Tracking sergeant will conduct mini-clinics on tracking skills and search tactics for those who have not yet attended the Tracking Academy.

Although it’s a rare team member who will have the opportunity to train his/her own dog for the Canine Resource, all team members are welcome to participate in that training. Every week, twice a week, the canines train and on each of those occasions, the trainers seek hiders. The reward for this contribution may be a big warm slobbery kiss (no, not from the trainers), as well as the good feeling of having helped to develop excellent four-legged team members.

Within each resource there is always a need for hands-on help with the logistics of that resource and in ideas for training and sometimes administrative help. Check with any staff person and there is probably some way you may be able to help. Raised hands are seldom turned down!

A truly important way to get involved is in helping with trainings. The full-team trainings are the primary way team members are trained to core skills and in support of that mission, the Training Division is actively recruiting to build out its team. Ways to help could be anything from driving a van the day of the event, to coming up with suggestions and ideas for implementation of various trainings, to planning and presenting a mock search – the range is wide, as is the need. Training Division meetings are held on the first Monday evening of each month (which is often, but not always, the Monday prior to the training). Check the calendar and just show up. You can observe without commitment until you get comfortable. To jump in now, simply contact training@contracostasar.org. Training Lieutentant Andy Comly is willing to redirect those willing to help in other divisions, as well.

Speaking of training … proctoring is an excellent way to support the team and beef up your skills at the same time. EMR and Academy proctoring are key to the success of the program. Proctors are also used during each month’s training events and are vital to making the training program work. If you don’t understand what it means to be a proctor, check out the Callout article on proctoring from April 2011.

The Logistics group is always looking for more hands-on helpers, as well. Both skilled and unskilled labor are welcome for the frequent “rehabbing” that needs to be done – getting equipment and supplies ready for the next search, training or medical event and cleaning up from same. Lifting, moving and transporting supplies and equipment is one side of it, but those who simply like to tidy up and organize can also be put to good use.

The logistics of the Medical side of the house also could use help. After every medical event or training, there are many re-organizational tasks that are necessary. And before every medical mission there is a lot of prep work to do. During the EMR class, the need for help is weekly – Mondays and every other week Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well. In matters of communications, there are, again, a variety of ways to get involved.

The Comms Group works in developing ways to improve communications for searches and training. Bring your ideas and skills to that table if you have them or just come and learn how things work.

The IT folk work hard to improve methods for myriad search and training tasks, from printing maps to downloading GPS tracks to uploading GPS tracks. If you have a gift for or interest in technology, check in with them.

The New Members crew welcomes help from February through the fall with a number of activities and tasks. Attending orientations (the first Thursday of each month through June) and lending support there is most appreciated. Other needs include help with paperwork; for uniform sizing and dissemination; and with meeting, greeting and helping to shepherd new Academy students at trainings prior to the Academy when students are observing or role-playing.

There are public relations events throughout the year that can use people who enjoy conversing with anyone who comes to the table to learn about CoCoSAR. Again, ideas for improving the process are always needed and invited. The team is constantly on the lookout for ways to bring in money to help build programs and purchase equipment.

Fundraising is key to that, whether through grant writing, corporate-giving programs or other fundraising events. The Finance group welcomes all comers who can offer expertise or a simple willingness to help.

The website is about to be reworked and there will definitely be a need for help and suggestions as it undergoes some upgrading. And the Callout staff is always (always!) seeking more people to write articles or help in other ways. If you can’t write, perhaps you are a great photographer and can supply much-needed photos for stories. Or maybe you are adept at WordPress and can help in that way.

And let’s not forget the social side. If you are someone who enjoys people, you can use your skills for SAR Social events. At present, the team has focused on an annual picnic and holiday party, but the options are open for more ideas for those willing to take the lead.

The list goes on and on, but hopefully, you get the drift. Searches or no searches, the team takes a village to run. Every team member who steps up and adds his/her time and energy to any and all tasks helps keep the team the strong unit that it is. Touch base with your coach or take a look at the current organizational chart on the website documents page and find the staff member connected to the area that interests you; you’ll find a way to add your talents to the mix. Want to get involved? All you have to do is ask ….

CoCoSAR Picture Of The Day

photo

CoCoSAR team member Brad Schimek holds out a radio direction finder as fellow team members (John Sutter, Cameron Soo, Don Kavanaugh, Paul Healy and Kerrie Tseung) take a compass bearing on its position. The device is used as part of the team's ELT (electronic location transmitter) training. The ELT is designed to find downed aircraft and is one of the skills CoCoSAR's mountain rescue group must demonstrate as part of their annual MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) Wilderness Search Tactics recertification. (Photo Credit: Natalie Zensius)