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.
On July 17, 2014 Contra Costa County SAR was on scene and prepared to provide medical aid and assist with missing or lost children at the 20th annual Hot Summer Nights in Danville. The event was located on Hartz Ave in the heart of beautiful historic downtown Danville. The show stretched from Faz's restaurant on Hartz Avenue north to San Ramon Valley High School and extended down many of the side streets as well.
There were rare, one-of-a-kind collector cars, along side the most powerful hot rods and muscle cars from the 1960's. Also on display were custom designed cars from some of the world's most famous automobile designers, and beautifully maintained classic originals.
Check out the video of some of our team members:
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
New CPR Procedures, June 2011, Page 10
CPR and AED FAQS, by Carol and Mike McMillian, February 2012, Page 11
Blood Pressure Basics, by Laura Carmody, RN, October 2011, Page 7
Blood Pressure: A Closer Look, November 2011, Page 12
SAR Oxygen Pack, by Mike McMillan, August 2010, Page 11
The Little Green Bottle, by Ian Snelson, August 2010, Page 12
Mount 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.
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.”
As the Team has closed out 2013 I want to take a moment to thank each and every SAR member for their incredible contributions to the SAR Team and the Office of the Sheriff this past year. SAR Team members contributed over 45,000 hours of service to the team and the community you serve in 2013. This contribution equates to over 20 full time positions in the Office of the Sheriff. This is a salary equivalency of over $2.5 million dollars.
The SAR Team participated in 53 missions, countless medical details, PR details and other special functions through-out the year. In accomplishing the above, the SAR Team supported 22 different law enforcement agencies in and around the county. Additionally, the SAR team responded to 12 mutual aid call outs outside of Contra Costa County.
There were many noteworthy callouts, starting with the New Years Day epic carryout of a rescued hiker in the hills of Marin. There was a multi-day search for a naked 6’ 8” tall man in Sonoma County in the Spring. We had two team members on separate searches locate a missing subject while en-route to the CP. Our growing trailing K9 resource continued to see more calls for service. There was the successful find of the missing 4yo girl in Richmond (asleep under her bed).
On a more somber note, our team assisted with body recoveries in Solano and Nevada Counties. While sad, these searches brought about closure to the missing person’s families.
In 2013 the team continued to assist with evidence searches helping local agencies with personnel and expertise. One event included the eradication of a pot grow on a remote island in the Delta. Additionally, the metal detector squad participated in many evidence searches and successfully recovered weapons and elicit drugs.
In September the SAR Team was tasked with responding to the Morgan wild land fire on the East side of Mt. Diablo. This was a difficult call and required a very dynamic and flexible response by all. The team played a critical role in evacuation of residents at risk from the wildfire.
Another disaster related capability the team played a critical role in was the Urban Shield Mass Fatality exercise in October. Urban Shield tested the County’s capability to respond to a mass fatality event. This exercise proved that the SAR Team is critical to the County’s response to large disasters and has paved the way for future integration.
The above only briefly touches on the incredible amount of work each member dedicates to the team. But it is a testament to your dedication.
The team is situated and ready for an incredible 2014. I can’t wait to be a part of it with you.
All of us know the benefits of enhancing our fitness level, but did you realize that if each CoCoSAR member could increase his/her walking speed by as little as 10 percent, it would be the equivalent of adding 23 fully trained and experienced searchers to the team? That’s a big bonus for the team.
With that in mind, team member Reza Farasati has stepped up to encourage and organize fitness activities for team members with a new fitness program, (SARFit!) for CoCoSAR members.
The goal of the program is to help members at all levels reach a higher state of fitness. SARFit! is designed to do two simple things: Provide members with a variety of fun fitness opportunities – from hikes, to bike rides, to backpacking, to snowshoeing; and to encourage members to enhance their personal fitness levels.
The program is completely voluntary and will require prospective participants to “opt in” by emailing Reza with their interest. Opting in will then put that member on the list to receive regular emails with brief descriptions (what, where, when and fitness level/intensity) of activities that may be of interest. There will be no pressure: It’s totally up to the individual to decide in which activities to participate.
Reza will serve as the collector and distributor of fitness opportunities – team members may send him details of activities they think would be good for the program and he will pass on the info to all those who opted in.
Interested team members should email Reza directly to let him know of their interest in the program. This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of incremental fitness improvement while becoming an even stronger CoCoSAR member – not to mention connecting with fellow team members in a fun and productive way.
This past Saturday, team members engaged in the first SARFit! activity–a hike with some chest thumping hills–after the full team training. Watch a video of the event below.
Quietly, behind the scenes, Jack has been putting in a lot of work and effort with the MRG Group and preparing MRG members for their ELT recertification testing in March. Jack has organized a training plan to accomplish this and has recruited and trained a squad of team members as well. And many times now Jack has been up early in the still-dark dark hours to go out and station beacons and tracks so the squad can train. A big thank you, Jack!
Steve Filippoff and Tim Murphy
Over a year ago, both Tim and Steve began work in training their canines to become CoCoSAR-certified trailing dogs. This past month, along with their canines, they both passed their tests and became certified members of the Canine Resource. This is a huge accomplishment and has required an immense amount of time, dedication and sacrifice on their part. Adding two more trailing canines to our team adds a tremendous additional ability for us to find our missing subjects and/or determine a direction of travel for them. This will greatly enhance our team’s response to an emergency. Well done, Tim and Steve!
Wilma led an excellent and energized group of team members that produced our recent SAR holiday party last month. She led the effort from the very first Social SAR meeting in early 2013 to the very end of the event in December. It was a great success! Wilma was also a leader in helping many fellow team members out in recertifying their EMR certification by organizing skillset training prior to testing. Well done, Wilma.
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.
Command Staff is pleased to select these two team members for November Member Recognition;
Bob is commended for his tireless work as the Medical Sgt. for CoCoSAR. His leadership in organizing, recruiting and executing over 12 Medical Support Missions for various events during the year has been outstanding. These Medical Missions places our SAR Team in the spotlight among our community; Bob’s work has been professional and very much appreciated!
Chris is a very active SAR Team Member and has just been appointed the Mountain Rescue Group (MRG) Lead for the team. His past work as the MRG Logistics has greatly enhanced the readiness of that group for future missions. Chris was also a proctor for the recent Wilderness Emergency Medical Responder (WEMR) Class.