June 23, 2016

Houston Brook Falls Rope Rescue Trainig, June 19, 2016

The FSAR RR team conducted a training at Houston Brook Falls on Sunday. We began at the CV fire station for a short classroom briefing and then moved into the field at Houston Brook Falls for hands-on evolution training.

We began with reviewing the verbal commands that would be followed during each lower and raise evolution during this training and at all live calls. As a team, we decided to use the same commands recommended in the Rick Lipke Technical Rescue Riggers Guide.  This guide has become the default standard for rope rescue in the state of Maine.  We also conducted a safety briefing and assigned Paul and Melissa as our safety officers for the training.  The training goals were outlined: safety, team building, mentoring of new members, hands-on practice and sharing of knowledge.

We headed out to the falls site where we collectively discussed each station. One at a time, we discussed, mainline, belay, edge attendants, litter attendant and command.  We talked about the possible hazards, options and factors that must be considered before beginning to construct each system. 

Next we broke into groups of 2 and constructed each station.  After being checked by the safety officers, we ran the first evolution of lowering a litter and attendant down about 20’ off a cliff next to the falls. The teams then switched over and rigged for a litter raise.  After a brief break for hydration, we critiqued the evolution one system at a time.

Next we switched roles, and started the 2nd evolution. We trained for 4 ½ hours at the falls conducting 3 complete evolutions including a critique of each.

Overall the team performed very well together, had some great discussions, encouraged full participation by all and shared and learned some new ways of thinking about each role in a successful RR operation. One group decision we made was to use the ‘figure 8’ family of knots, where applicable, as our ‘default’ knot on the rescue scene.

Our next training will be held at the end of the summer or in September and will be organized by Pat, Shannon and Jimmy, a training date (or options) will be announced soon.

Minutes respectfully submitted by S. Mitman 6-21-2016

 Photo credits: Gabe and Mit

May 15, 2016

2016 MASAR Conference, Camp Jordan near Ellsworth, Maine

8 FSAR members attended the annual MASAR conference this weened in Ellsworth.  I am still digesting the info I learned in the NOAA workshop on lightning, what a great presentation. Joe and the Wilderness crew did a great job teaching rope rescue techniques, the food was great and it was good to spend some time with the team. 
Thanks to MASAR Education director Bryan C. for almost single-handedly putting on such a great conference! 8 FSAR members (Mathias is not in this photo) saw and learned a lot of great stuff!

Playing with the mast cam on the YCEMA mobile command post vehicle, I caught Joe and Melissa and Kevin and Jen doing one of the best parts of these conferences, 'catching up'!

One workshop included a lesson by a local trapper on how to safely remove a SAR dog from a metal trap 

The debrief of the Largay search, Lyon search in Baxter SP and the Philpott search in Acadia was very informative. I find that reflecting on how a search unfolds in retrospect is very helpful in learning new ways to improve our search techniques. 

February 20, 2016

Winter Nighttime Rope Rescue Training in New Vineyard

FSAR held an evening rope rescue training February 17th.  The team practiced the skills necessary to safely extricate a patient from a low angle slope. Several anchors and rigging systems were built to safely protect a litter attendant and raise the patient. The next quarterly training training will be held in April or May.

February 11, 2016

Winter SAR Training at Acadia National Park

On February 6th and 7th ,  Pat, John, and Mathias attended the Maine statewide winter training on Mount Desert Island.  The two day program was hosted by Chris Wiebusch from Acadia National Park Service (NPS) and held at the winter headquarters.   Besides Franklin SAR, other teams attending included, Wilderness SAR, Mount Desert Island (MDI) SAR, Mahoosic Mountain rescue team, Pine Tree SAR , NPS and Baxter State Park rangers.

 There were two different afternoon field scenarios. Both encompassed notification, organization, navigation to the victim, patient assessment, treatment and transportation. One of the scenarios involved a high angle pick off of the victim on an ice route.  The second involved a haul system where the victim and litter were in a difficult terrain.
Sunday we visited Beaver Bog pond to practice ice rescue techniques. At times we had 4 people in the water and it proved to be quite interesting!
After Fridays snowstorm where Acadia picked up a foot of snow, the scenery was spectacular.  Working together with other agencies and sharing ideas and techniques is always dynamic and this training was no exception. 
Many thanks to Chris and his staff of fellow rangers for organizing the event, as well as for their hospitality and accommodations.

Some of the topics and techniques we covered included:
·         Cold weather/winter emergencies and treatment. 
·         Crampon and ice axe use.
·         Avalanche and beacon use.
·         Surface ice rescue.

Summary by Pat
Photos by Pat & John