Over half of the CoCoSAR team participated at the Contra Costa County Fair in Antioch as set-up volunteers, medical support and Reserve duty deputies for four days of fair activity. However, an unseen few worked the closing operations.
While 90-plus team members helped with SAR operations during the fair, eight individuals helped with the dismantling and transfer of equipment back to the OES, some of whom had already spent many hours on medical and SAR duty. Still, with good spirits and a hope to finish quickly, they focused on the task at hand.
Of course, Murphy’s Law always came into play (“If anything can go wrong, it will”). So, in the wee dark hours of Monday morning, they had to contend with an uncooperative vehicle and trailer set-up on Hwy 4. But no matter, for the problems were addressed and solutions were found. By 0230 their task was complete, with only the need to get themselves home safely.
The names of our unsung heroes are Kevin Batewell, Benjamin Fandinola, Erin Field, Robert Harrison, Tim Murphy, Casey Riggs, Micheal Riggs and Paul West.
Rick Kovar led this merry band of workers. He wished to have these heroic few given a well-earned note of credit for their hard work and willingness to endure. Give them all a thank you for completing the final task and adding to the success of the 2013 County Fair.
This team constantly trains to improve and be the best. The marathon Emergency Medical Responder class, monthly team trainings, Hasty trainings, or specific resource trainings that happen month in and month out demonstrate we are constantly striving to improve. This training, combined with your focus on the mission, is the reason the SAR team is one of the best programs in the state.
This past weekend was the perfect example of this team’s professionalism and capability. We had outstanding coverage on all shifts throughout the County Fair. This year’s fair was one of the smoothest fairs in memory. Arrests and medical calls were lower than average. With that said, there were several notable situations requiring ALS transport to the hospital. From what I could see, everyone was extremely professional and focused on providing excellent care. I want to thank everyone for taking their jobs seriously and providing exceptional public service this past weekend.
In the middle of the fair Friday night we were pre-empted to respond to Richmond to assist with a search for a missing 4-year-old girl. This type of callout has the potential of becoming a major campaign search due to the victim’s risk. Logistically our response was challenged as most of our equipment was committed to the fair. We were ready. Prior to the fair we set up a vehicle with a basic CP cache just in case there was a search during the fair.
And true to expectations we received this callout on Friday evening. The search was a textbook example of why we train and insist on following specific procedures. When we arrived on scene, Richmond PD had been actively searching for the missing girl for about three hours. We were briefed on the situation and on what had been searched. We were ensured the house had been searched and cleared. Nevertheless, our first assignment was to re-search the residence. In less than 10 minutes, the girl was found safe, asleep under a bed at the house. This search had all the earmarks of going huge quickly. Richmond Police had a lot of resources committed. And we were planning on going full team and had requested additional state resources to respond.
The response to Richmond had some technical issues, but the human factor worked perfectly. As team members arrived, they quickly took on reflex tasks important to the beginning of the search. Re-searching the house was not a major achievement or any reason to high five each other. Researching the house is based on past experience and standard practices we employ when we come on scene. We train in hasty training and search management courses to do this. It is not a reflection on the host agency. It is just a fact: Sometimes things are missed. Our thoroughness is not perfect, but we strive for it. In this case the situation resolved quickly. Having everyone following a standard SOP ensured this case resolved quickly and positively. The team’s actions that Friday evening were a reflection of our training.
We train hard as a team to be able to do the best job we can when called. The County Fair and the Richmond search were two examples of our training and commitment paying off. You all should be proud to be part of a program that makes a difference.
Team member Erik Fok takes a moment to enjoy some of the sights at the Contra Costa County Fair. This is the largest medical and security event that CoCoSAR supports every year.