This week, 11 new candidates and four candidates returning from previous years, began the CoCoSAR Type 1 Academy. Joe Keyser, Academy Training Sergeant, gives an overview of what the students are learning.
What does it mean to be a Type 1 searcher for CoCoSAR?
Being a Type 1 searcher means you respond to callouts in the most difficult and remote terrain in California. Type 1s can be requested to deploy almost anywhere in the state unsupported for up to 72 hours.
What types of terrain do CoCoSAR Type 1 searchers typically operate in?
The state of California defines Type 1 terrain as steep, high altitude, snow-covered or rough. Usually we operate in very remote areas. In the past, we’ve deployed to wilderness areas such as Yosemite, Ventana, Yolla Bolly, King's Canyon, Sequoia and Ansel Adams, as well as remote areas in many of the state's national forests.
How many Type 1 searches does CoCoSAR typically participate in every year?
Typically we average about two Type 1 searches a year. Last year, however, due to a variety of factors, including an early fall snowstorm, we responded to five Type 1 callouts.
How long does it typically take to complete the CoCoSAR required Type 1 training?
While it’s possible to complete all Type 1 trainings in one year, most people complete it in two or more years. Due to the volume of trainings and inevitable schedule conflicts, it’s very challenging to get everything done in one year.
Besides the academy, what other training do candidates have to complete before they can achieve Type 1 status for CoCoSAR?
In addition to the academy, candidates must complete the Diablo endurance hike (DEH); the advanced land navigation classroom sessions and field exercise; basic wilderness search tactics (an overnight backpacking trip); and advanced wilderness search tactics (a two-night long-distance backpacking trip). They also need to complete the course in wilderness first aid (WEMR). Those are required for Type-1 status. Type 1 searchers may also choose to continue their training to become certified in high-altitude terrain, snow terrain, or technical snow and ice terrain.
What types of skills will the candidates be learning in the Academy?
Candidates will learn about wilderness communication, gear, risk assessment, body management, available advanced trainings and more. New this year will be weapons-awareness training.
How many Type 1 team members does CoCoSAR have currently?
The team currently has about 30 active Type 1 members.
Who should consider becoming a Type 1 team member for CoCoSAR?
Any current Type 2 team member who wants to improve his/her searcher skills, challenge himself/herself physically and mentally, train and search in some of the most remote and beautiful places in the state and assume more of a leadership role on the team should consider Type 1 training.