Mand
Mand

Keeper of the Spitfire
Location: Calgary Canada
Member Since: 24th Oct 2003
Total posts: 2317
Posted:Ok, so my little brain's been doing lots of thinking lately...
Whilst basking in the beauty of not having a job for a few weeks, I got thinking about volunteer work. I found a leaflet in my room about search and rescue teams, and have since been reading up about it.

It's something I'd love to get involved in. Every time I go out to play in the mountains or rivers I know that if the s**t hits the fan (which it nearly has a few times), that these people would drop everything at a moments notice and come to help.

I have decided I would like to pay something back to this, so tonight I contacted the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team. I have a great deal of qualifications and about 20 years experience and knowledge to offer them, and hope I can be a part of their work. I hope I can pay something back to these wonderful people who work voluntarily in a harsh and sometimes dangerous environment.

Please wish me luck... biggrin


Lets steal a spaceship and head for the sun, and shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.

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Stout
Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada
Member Since: 12th May 2004
Total posts: 1872
Posted:Good luck Mand,,,that's an admirable way to spend your time off..the world needs more people like you.

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Rouge Dragon
Rouge Dragon

Insert Champagne Here
Location: without class distinction
Member Since: 21st Jul 2003
Total posts: 13215
Posted:goodluck!
i have so much respect for search and rescue people!

when u wrote that u went to the teesdale place i thort "omg she lives near me"......but wrong country! lol! theres a teesdale about half an hour away from where i live! lol!


i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...

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Posted:Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!
Cheers! ubbloco weavesmiley ubbloco


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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:Woo!

I've been doing SAR for about 4 years now, and even though I'm away at college most of the time I still show up to help train the new people. Its great, and its opened me up to a lot of new experiences. Fun stuff wink hanging off 600ft waterfalls, doing 30 mile hikes in a day with a 50 pound pack on trails where you could reach out and touch them in front of you they were that steep in places. Been on scene for plane wrecks, mudslides, body recoveries, missing children you name it..

Its hard work, so if you aren't hardcore and dedicated enough to go all out then it could be tough, what kind of SAR are they doing? My groups is through the local Sheriffs office so we'll be called out on everything from urban searches for missing children and the elderly to deep backcountry wilderness..

Few tips...

1. Learn to deal with the stupid people... less than 1 in 10 searches will be for someone with any sort of common sense, so just beware.

2. People DO NOT seem to be able to understand when someone tells them DONT MOVE. We've had people call in on their cellphone and tell us the trail junction they were at and that they were lost, their battery went dead, and what should have taken 2 hours to get up and get them out took almost 20 because they decided they would try to hoof it cross country and find their own way out.. (see what I mean about stupid people?)

3. Stinging Nettles, Devils Club, Blackberries, Poison Ivy/Oak. Learn them well.. avoid them.. Stinging nettles you learn to love the pain eventually, Blackberries you'll learn to deal with the scratches.. Devils Club is evil, and you'll never get used to it, Poison Ivy and Poison Oak are evil.. remember if you go through any, wash your clothes when you get home asap, the oils can stay on your clothes over 7 years if they aren't washed..

(evil tip... those stupid people... if they piss you off walk them through some of those plants up above on your way out) ubbangel

4. Hurry up and wait seems to be the theme a lot of the time. It could be waiting for people to show up so you can go out and get on scene, waiting at the trailhead for the go ahead, waiting at base for orders, waiting waiting waiting...

5. Try not to get frustrated with the SAR Coordinator.. Usually they know what they are doing, but there will be plenty of times you'll be sent off in some random weird direction miles away from where the person would reasonably be. Mainly they have to get people out in those areas to cover their own asses just in case they person *is* there. Take in the scenery and go for a nice hike if thats the case, but don't forget to be searching, we've had plenty of people show up where they shouldn't have been.

6. If you are going to be involved with any sort of evidence searching on crime scenes, or body recoveries, get yourself a morbid sense of humor. Listen to medcial examiners for any length of time and you'll see why, its way to much stress to try to deal with all that at the same time.. Try to disassociate, don't think of a bone or a tooth as part of a person, its just a bone or a tooth..

Theres tons of other things... but now that I've probably scared the kind people of the board I think I'll shutup.. Feel free to PM me if you've got any questions. SAR is a great experience, and it always looks good to be able to write 2,000+ hours of community service on a resume wink


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

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OrangeBobo
OrangeBobo

veteran
Location: Guelph, ON, Canada
Member Since: 21st Nov 2003
Total posts: 1389
Posted:Hey! Lurch does SAR, you should talk to him about some of the experiences he's had! *nodd nodd*

Oh, and go for it, and good luck love!! hughugkisskiss

~ Bobo


wie weit, wie weit noch?
fragst mich, wo wir gewesen sind...
du fehlst hier

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OrangeBobo
OrangeBobo

veteran
Location: Guelph, ON, Canada
Member Since: 21st Nov 2003
Total posts: 1389
Posted:Whoops, posted the same time ^_^

(Hiya Lurchie!! You're amazing hon! ubblove)

~ Bobo


wie weit, wie weit noch?
fragst mich, wo wir gewesen sind...
du fehlst hier

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Narr
Narr

(*) (*) .. for the gnor ;)
Location: sitting on the step
Member Since: 15th Apr 2003
Total posts: 2568
Posted:ggod luck mand biggrin kiss

she who sees from up high smiles

Patrick badger king: *they better hope there's never a jihad on stupidity*

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Mand
Mand

Keeper of the Spitfire
Location: Calgary Canada
Member Since: 24th Oct 2003
Total posts: 2317
Posted:Hey Lurch, thanks for the info.
The T&W SAR team sounds similar to what you do. Most of the time its out in the dales and the hills, but they also help with urban surches, helping police search for evidence, etc.
I have done a lot of rescue work in the past- cliff and crag rescues for my SPA climbing, white water safety and rescue, quite a few first hand experiences of rescues on the river, and organising emergency evacuations of groups off mountains.
I hope all this will stand me in good stead, and that i'll be able to help.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words. smile


Lets steal a spaceship and head for the sun, and shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.

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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:Aw, well I'm sure you'll have no probelms getting in, you might end up being a bit bored though. Groundpounding isn't so much fun as high angle rescues or working on the water wink

I'm curious as to what kind of technical rescue work you've done. 'professional' rescues? or just the normal work that most climbers learn how to do out of necessity. If you were just a rec climber you're gonna have to learn some new things, pulley systems, z-lines, tyroleans, get used to working on heavier static line chances are you won't be on any dynamic ropes. Your gear, setup and knots has to be rated to manage a shockload with two people on it + gear so you're going to be using beefier gear, heavier racks, rescue 8's instead of normal 8's. You might as well toss the ATC I have yet to find one to fit the static lines we use. Get used to and know how to properly set a rack, and adjust it in use. I've seen too many idiots (even experienced climbers) rack it backwards just to watch it fall apart when I gave a tug on it.. You'll have to get used to doing things the long slow way, setting up double lines, being lowered instead of doing a simple rap, if you do the rap they will probably complain if you try to tie off to your leg as a lock, the little 'tricks' are too much of a liability.


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

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Mand
Mand

Keeper of the Spitfire
Location: Calgary Canada
Member Since: 24th Oct 2003
Total posts: 2317
Posted:Most of the cliff/ crag rescue is what i've been trained on SPA (single pitch award), and what we've ended up doing out of necessity whilst out climbing. I mainly do sport climbing though, just cos France is all mainly bolted, so my rescue techniques are very rusty.

The T&W SAR team use specialist teams of canoeists and kayakers for river rescues (LOTS of rivers in the area), and this is what i'm very interested in. I have done white water rescue courses when the outside temperature was -8C, and with my job we commonly work through planned out rescues as training. As i work on white water most of the time, we also have our fair share of real life incidents to cope with (not usually too life threatening, but enough to keep us on out toes!).

As for getting bored?! Not a chance if i'm out in the countryside. I'm quite at home walking up and down big hills with heavy rucksacks on. I think i'll enjoy it. biggrin

Oh and by the way, i forgot to mention- much respect lurch for the SAR work that you've done. wink hug


Lets steal a spaceship and head for the sun, and shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.

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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:awww ubblove I feel so loved

River rescue for us was always kind of out of our area, we didnt have the resource in our group to be able to actually get on the water, and the Sheriff's office already had a pretty hardcore river team made up of actual deputies so they always got those calls, of course we would be called in to search river banks for people... some of those are the creepiest searches I've been on.. drop you off on an island tell you you're looking for a 250 pound Samoan wrestler probably drunk and on PCP and not wanting to be found.. (yes people do actually run away from us sometimes)

I've always wanted to get into the river rescue stuff more, but I've never really had the opportunity or time.

Most of the rope stuff we have done is not for climbers. Climbers tend to police their own and are *usually* some of the best people out there, most have enough technical knowledge and nerves to be able to pull off a rescue on their own, or with a partner, but theres always those incidents.. depending on the situation if you're going to be lifting a person in a litter you're not going to be going off of bolts, they are strong enough, and not placed in good positions generally.. shockloading a bolt with 500+ pounds on static line would not be a fun thing, that would never be done intentionally, but sh*t happens eh? we will usually go off trees, trucks if they are on scene, or good sized rocks.. Rope rescues are kind of rare around here, in the places where people slip, its generally a body recovery not a rescue sadly.. More common would probably by a tyrolean traverse (basically a fancy zipline thats not quite as exciting) across a creek or something if its too far/difficult to take them through or around. Rough land evac is always fun wink


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

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Mand
Mand

Keeper of the Spitfire
Location: Calgary Canada
Member Since: 24th Oct 2003
Total posts: 2317
Posted:Quote:
.. drop you off on an island tell you you're looking for a 250 pound Samoan wrestler probably drunk and on PCP and not wanting to be found..


ubblol ubblol ubblol could be quite unnerving! eek

Quote:
shockloading a bolt with 500+ pounds on static line would not be a fun thing, that would never be done intentionally, but sh*t happens eh? we will usually go off trees, trucks if they are on scene, or good sized rocks..


Yeah, good solid anchors. Thats the one thing that plagues my mind with bolts- "How long have they been there? Have they eroded? Has the surrounding rock eroded? How much weight will they now hold in a fall?" You dont know the answers, so just give them a bit of a wiggle when clipping in, and hope for the best. biggrin

Quote:
More common would probably by a tyrolean traverse (basically a fancy zipline thats not quite as exciting) across a creek or something


We do these in river rescues aswell, and they can be fun- especially in big water. A line is set up diagonally across the river. A sling is clipped to the line and to the harness on your bouyancy aid, jump in and off you go! (basically).
River rescues are fun (and cold if you do them in Wales in the middle of winter! Brrr.) If you get the chance you should try and get on a course. Usually helps if you're quite competent in rivers and swimming in white water first though...


Lets steal a spaceship and head for the sun, and shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.

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Lurch
Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon
Member Since: 1st Nov 2003
Total posts: 929
Posted:yeah, I've never liked using bolts, but some of the routes around here leave little else to go off. Been trained on making an A frame and gin pole althought we've never used them on scene.. and I don't know that I would trust myself to make one now that its been a few years. Luckily most of the climbing people do around here is just toproping and not many bigwalls or multipitch climbs.. of course there are always the idiots in the backcountry who see a cliff and go 'I can climb that'...

In all reality we don't use ropes as much as we could, and we will usually go fairly far before we bring them out, main reason being a large portion of our groups hasnt been trained enough to be able to work systems properly, which would force the few qualified people to either do the whole thing themselves, or closely watch *everyone* all the time. Its nice to be able to ask someone to set and anchor and be able to trust that anchor without having to go over and completely redo it once they are done..

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is take the awe out of some situations, when you've got a pavehawk buzzing around or hovering over your scene it tends to catch peoples attentions, and they just stare.. I must admit they are very kewl, and they sound awesome but it *is* just a helocopter... Ok ok they kick ass ubbangel watching someone do a shorthaul just makes me drool every time.

Oh yeah.. those stupid people.. keep your eye out for them everywhere, they tend to invade your own group sometimes, and the other groups on scene with you, we've had fire departments (they shouldnt have technically been on scene in the first place) cancel our' restricted airspace (which they cant legally do) which then brought in a bunch of news choppers, and started knocking branches onto our people. It was a planecrash in the woods, so there were plenty of widowmakers up there and things could have gone really bad, really fast. They did a few other stupid things but I won't go into that here... That FD was banned from ever being on a search in our county again ubbangel

It's mostly a politics thing with most groups. Ours is actually made up of mostly highschool age kids and I was back in HS when I started, which seems to knock us down in the eyes of most people. Even though we get put through usually at least 10x the training as other groups, and have a hell of a lot more experience in the field. If they don't know us, or haven't seen us in action its almost always an 'oh you're just kids' attitude.. Until we outhike them, redo their grids and find the stuff they missed wink


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

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Mand
Mand

Keeper of the Spitfire
Location: Calgary Canada
Member Since: 24th Oct 2003
Total posts: 2317
Posted:Oops, sorry lurch- this dropped to pg5 and i forgot about it. ubbangel

Sounds like you have a really good team there.

I just hope i'm able to do stuff. I'm not here much, so I don't know how much is possible.
I wouldn't be able to go to a great deal of training excercises, unless i timed my holidays with them. However, with my qualies i'm able to head up major river rescues. I'm hoping that with this experience, they might let me come along and assist them without too much extra training. I'd end up being a bit of a dogsbody, but at least i'd be useful. smile

Keep up the good work honey, and let me know of any more stories you get from it. biggrin


Lets steal a spaceship and head for the sun, and shoot the stars with a lemonade ray gun.

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