August 9, 2014

August 8, 2014 Cranberry Peak Rescue

FSAR's Jim A. and Melissa S assisted in a litter carry-out on Cranberry Peak for an elderly female with a fractured leg. 

In Melissa's words: 

"The call out came in at 613 pm from Steve Y. The team arrived on scene at 7:15 p.m. when we hiked up to meet the litter team. 
Also participating in the nighttime carry out were Northstar personnel, MWS, and local fire department members. This night rescue was made difficult by an intense rainstorm which made the trail muddy and the roots and rocks along the trail extremely slippery. The patient was in good spirits, however, and joked with the litter crew. We arrived at the ambulance around 8:45 p.m. Great teamwork by all!"

Photo: Melissa S.

July 30, 2014

Bigelow Search for 18 Y.O. male on A.T. in the Bigelows 7-29-2014

Bigelow Search 7-29-2014

FSAR was notified by the MASAR duty officer around 4:30 p.m. today that MWS Kevin Adams was requesting that all available FSAR team members respond to the A.T. trailhead on Rt. 27 immediately.

An 18 y.o. male was hiking with his Outward Bound program southbound on the A.T. when he became separated from his group.

6 FSAR team members responded to the trailhead just north of Sugarloaf and met up with MWS Scott Stevens and Reggie Hammond. A search plan was developed that covered the 4 most likely trails that the lost person could be on. We divided into 3 teams as Warden Hammond had already swept and eliminated 1 possible trail.  The 3 FSAR teams headed northbound from the Stratton Brook Pond Rd 1. up the A.T. toward the Bigelow Range Trail. 2. toward Horns Pond and 3. up the fire warden's trail to Bigelow col.  

ABout an hour after beginning the search, Seb and Marc who were on the A.T. encountered some southbound hikers and interviewed them. Seb had (very smartly) taken a screenshot of Scott Steven’s laptop that included an image of the missing person. The hikers confirmed that they had passed him someplace between West Peak and Horns Pond. He was moving slowly and they gave him some water as he was out.  After a radio conference the 3 teams decided to continue with the original plan as the missing man could decide to take the side trail at Horns pond down to the Stratton Brook Pond road and we wanted to sweep the ridge trail from West Peak.

Meanwhile Peter T. arrived on scene. In his words: I arrived about 1820 at Rt 27 trail junction, then, enroute to Stratton Brook Pond I met Warden Reggie Hammond.  He commandeered me to canvass businesses in Stratton/Coplin for sightings and or info on missing hiker.  Around 1945 I gave him a verbal report, with two new hikers who had seen the missing hiker earlier.  A bit later,  we got the word missing hiker was found.  I left my notes with Warden Hammond. 

At approximately 2.5 hours into the search (around 8 p.m.) Seb and Marc reached the Bigelow Ridge trail and took a short break. Soon after the missing man met up with them.  FSAR team members conducted an interview with the man to assess his condition and needs. He was scared, had run out of water, was very hungry and darkness was nearly upon him and he had no flashlight. He consumed 3 liters of water, 3 cliff bars and more!!  After a short rest the crew began the slow descent off the mountain.

Just after 10 p.m. the crew reached the parking area on the Stratton Brook Pond Road. He was met by a director from the Outward Bound Program and 2 other wardens who briefly interviewed him. No medical assistance was needed so all rescuers headed for home.

There were no reported injuries during the successful mission.

Account written by Steve Mitman, FSAR Secretary.

 Marc prepares to hit the trail.

 After recent rains, the Stratton Brook was high enough that we had to take our boots off to ford it. 
 Jim and Scott discuss the search plan.

 Much of the communication between teams was conducted by cell phone.

 A beautiful evening for a search!

At the junction of the Horns Pond trail and the Firewardens trail 2 team split up.  

Seb and Marc debrief with the other rescuers on their return to the trailhead.  Mission accomplished, way to go FSAR! 

Waterford Search for 77 y.o. woman July 7, 2014

Waterford search July 7, 2014

2 FSAR members participated in the search for a 77 y.o. woman in Waterford. Barry and Jim A. conducted 3 grid searches with the MWS and other MASAR teams throughout the day looking for the missing woman.

She was was found safe 48 hours after being reported lost the following day.

more info here (including some footage of FSAR members searching):

July 11, 2014

Annual FSAR Family Picnic

We had a great turnout at the annual FSAR family picnic. It was hosted this year by Steve and Alice in Kingfield.  I did not take too many photos, sorry if I missed you!

June 27, 2014

Crocker Mountain Hiker Rescue, June 24, 2014

Crocker Rescue 6-24-2014

On Tuesday, June 24, around 4 p.m., FSAR was notified that there was a possible rescue of a through hiker in need on the A.T., reportedly approximately 4 miles south of Maine Rt. 27 in the Crocker mountains.

FSAR team member Barry L. was working a shift with NorthStar ambulance and responded to the Rt. 27 A.T. south trailhead along with his paramedic partner, Corey B, and Harold S.  The initial response 'hasty team' was made up of 4 people, Maine game warden Scott Stevens, community volunteer Jake C, and NorthStar paramedic, Steve N, and Barry L. The plan was to make contact with the hiker (who had cell service) and then call for additional backup if needed. The crew hiked for more than 5 miles in approximately four hours before finally making physical contact with the patient just south of North Crocker. Fortunately, cell coverage allowed for updates with the patient before the hasty team arrived at the patient. Meanwhile, a crew made up of Eustis and Phillips firefighters staged at the initial command post at the AT trailhead in case a carry out was needed.

Steve M. put FSAR on ‘standby’ around 5 p.m. and 6 team members indicated that they were available to respond if needed. Pete B, an FSAR team member who was also on duty for Northstar at the time, called to discuss and pre-plan some different scenarios. FSAR member Al called and suggested that, if needed, the Plumb Creek Road could be utilized to drive within 1 mile of the summit of North Crocker on a bushwhack trail.

The Maine Forest Service  was also contacted about the possibility of using a helicopter to short-haul the hiker off the trail. They responded with a helo while there was still daylight, but strong winds and poor visibility in fog, and a lowering cloud ceiling made a short-haul too risky.

Weather moves over the summit of Crocker Mtn. preventing a MFS short-haul. 
(photo Pete Boucher)

Once the hasty team made contact with the patient, the Northstar medic, examined the hiker. He began treatment for dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea possibly from food poisoning.

As darkness was quickly approaching, Barry requested that a group of FSAR members gather food, tents, sleeping bags and headlamps to re-supply the hasty/medical team near the summit of North Crocker for a possible overnight on the trail as the weather was forecasted to deteriorate. Pat C, Devin L. and Steve M. staged at the Kingfield Fire Station at 9 p.m. and were hiking from the parking lot on the Caribou Valley Rd. around 10 p.m.  

Devin and Mit discuss and sort gear and food for the hasty team at KFD before moving to the trailhead.

Hasty team member Stevens (MWS) was being ‘shadowed’ by a camera crew from the 'Northwoods Law' reality television program. Although the 4 man crew was apparently in good physical shape for the hike, they carried little personal gear and were unprepared to spend the night with the patient on the mountain. This scenario was looking like a real possibility at this point. Once patient treatment had begun, warden Stevens hiked the camera team back down the mountain via South Crocker and Caribou Valley.

The heavily loaded resupply team (weighed later, Mit’s pack was nearly 50 lbs!) began the nighttime ascent of South Crocker at a surprisingly moderate pace. The resupply team encountered the departing camera team next to Crocker Cirque. One cameraman was using the very bright on-camera LED studio light for hiking illumination! After a brief break to swap info and a few stories, both groups continued.

Meanwhile the patient was responding well to treatment and eventually felt strong enough to attempt a slow hike down the mountain. Around midnight, Barry radioed the resupply team and recommended they stop climbing and to stage on the trail and wait for the descending medical team. The team was an estimated 30 minutes from the summit of South Crocker at this point. At 12:30 a.m. the medical team met up with the resupply group and provided snacks to the hasty team during a trailside break.

SOP for rescue: "hurry up and wait!" the re-supply team waits on the A.T. just above Crocker Cirque
 for the hasty team rendezvous.  

Soon we all began the slow descent down to the parking area on the Caribou Valley Rd. The patient was uncomfortable but was also chatty and kept up a reasonable pace stopping every 20-30 minutes to rest.

Rescuers take a break during the hike off South Crocker around 1:30 a.m.

At 2:15 a.m., the party hit the parking area where the patient was immediately escorted to the waiting Northstar SUV with Medic Lee I. The patient was then shuttled down the Caribou Valley logging road and out to a waiting ambulance on Rt. 27 where he was evaluated and transported to FMH.

Overall the rescue was a success. No rescuers were injured, and the patient was connected with medical care as quickly and safely as possible.

As with all search and rescue calls, FSAR team members plan to critique the rescue to share perspectives, list effective practices and to learn from the things that we would do differently next time.

Observations respectfully submitted by S. Mitman 6-26-2014

June 24, 2014

Largay Search 6-17-2014

Largay Search Description by Jim Logan

At 5:30 am on Tuesday June 17, five members of FSAR met at Avon

Airport for a MASAR search for Gerry

Largay. The five were Melissa, Jim A, Steve M, Josh, and Jim L. The team was

assigned an area of wilderness north of the AT that included some steep cliff bands. We were in hopes that after nearly

eleven months there would be a better chance of clues as animals would

likely have gone through any packs or clothing seeking what they could

use. This would probably distribute traces through a broader area.

The day was dry and never got especially hot and leaves kept us shaded

so we had good weather for our work. After probably three miles of AT hiking,

we entered the woods at about 9:30 and quickly came to old slide areas

covered with lots of vegetation and hiding cleverly disguised holes for our

legs to find. Everyone went in to the hip at least once, and Old Jim got his

foot quite entangled once (he was rescued by Young Jim). It also became

very steep and there were cliffs to be negotiated. There were blowdowns,

too. However, we never did encounter the dense stands of small spruce

that so plagued us on last years’ searches. Still, the overall effect was at

least equally miserable.

The usual challenges with the DeLorme GPS surfaced, but with three

competent GPS users and personal devices we managed to sort things

out and the team worked well together covering the area with out-and-back

progressions. We found no indications of any kind that Largay or any other

human had been there. The covered area was quite inhospitable for travel

by humans or other animals and it seemed unlikely that Largay would have

gone far into it. However, there were many caves and other places where

she could be very well hidden if she had made it into this zone and we did

our best to locate any kind of evidence.

The group worked well as a unit and felt we had put forth a solid effort. Also

involved that day were eight members of Mahoosic SAR working their own

area closer to the Poplar Ridge Lean-To. Very surprisingly, we all emerged

from the woods at the same time and Mahoosic had the same frustrations

we did.

All the SAR participants returned to their cars after ten hours on the search.

We were back at the airport twelve hours after we had assembled there in

the morning.

We did a post-operation critique and felt good about our work. We decided

we had a good sized group and that too many more might have been

unwieldy unless we had enough for two units. Among things to remember

for future searches were considerations of available water: there was none

after crossing the Orbeton Stream at the very beginning and fortunately we

planned for this. Also, we decided orange clothing was superior to bright

yellow. Additionally, at the lunch break we thrashed out what more we

could accomplish and how long it would take to exit the woods and get to

the car and get out. This made our afternoon work goals more reasonable

than they might have been if we had just dived in with no plan for what

we could prudently get done. (It was interesting that this was an important

question on what was nearly the longest day of the year; gauging the

capacity of team energy is important too. An expectations and exit plan

is worth considering at every search lunch time break.) Additionally, we

communicated effectively with CP through texting as well as radio, and this

was very good to know. And, as ever with searches, we stressed the need

to keep the group together at all times.

It was another FSAR job well done.

June 15, 2014

An Interview with Returning FSAR Member Devin Littlefield

Devin Littlefield joined FSAR as a 'student member' when he was in high school. Recently Devin returned to the area after his graduation from Alaska Pacific University.  The team was reacquainted with Devin on Wednesday when he attended the monthly FSAR meeting. 

I recently had a chance to interview Devin about his time in AK.

Hi Devin, welcome back! What was your major at APU?
I majored in Outdoor Studies with a minor in Business Administration and Management. Through the OS program, I've been able to learn the skills necessary for different activities in the outdoors and how to be an effective leader of those activities. Having a background in business has allowed me to look into the big picture and future plans involving business and the outdoors.

What kinds of classes did you take in the program?
Some of my basic classes were: Introduction to Wilderness Skills, Intro. to Winter Wilderness, Wilderness First Responder, Intro. to Rope Systems, Intro to Ice Climbing, Swiftwater Rescue and Expedition Leadership to name a few. Some of my business courses were: Intro. to Business, Marketing, Financial Accounting and other similar courses.

What kinds of wilderness experiences did you have in the program?
I've had a wide variety of experiences. From multi-day winter camping to a 22-day backpacking trip, I've gotten many opportunities to explore Alaska and really experience everything that it had to offer.

What did you do for outdoor recreation while in Alaska?
I did a little bit of everything! I did some backcountry skiing, nordic skiing in town, mountain and road biking, various climbing trips and countless number of hikes. These were all during my off time when I wasn't in class or work.

Did you participate in any SAR calls, or training, if so can you share some cases?
I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to join a SAR team while I was in Alaska. They have a very different way of operating their organization, with a requirement of being a resident of Alaska in order to join, which I was not able to do.

Can you share a memorable wilderness experience you had during your time in AK?
Two of the craziest experiences had to have been either sleeping in a floor-less tent during a winter camping trip when it was -15 below or almost skiing into a moose while ski-jouring. While these were both interesting experiences, the one that takes the cake was being surrounded by wolves during a backpacking trip.

What are you doing now?
I am now working for Maine Huts & Trails as the Marketing & Merchandise Associate, focusing on generating new Digital Media for online consumption with an emphasis on photography and videography.

Looking ahead, what goals have you set for yourself in the future?
I have a few goals in mind: my first is to learn as much as I can about search and rescue as an active member of FSAR, continue to grow in my career path of Digital Media and to start my own eco-tourist business, to name a few.

Thanks Devin, It's great to have you back in the area and back on the team!


May 18, 2014

Waterboro search update: FSAR stand down

Update from the MASAR Facebook page:

It is with heavy heart and great sadness that we share this story. Our condolences and prayers are with Jaden's family, friends and the entire community. Thanks again for the untiring dedication of our Maine Warden Service and the many trained and untrained searchers that jumped in to help. Good teamwork and perseverance brought closure to everyone.

Link to press story:

May 11, 2014

May 2, 2014

Spring 2014, Maine Deer Tick, Lyme Disease Update

Unfortunately, despite our harsh Winter, ticks were not fazed.
2014 Lyme Disease Information from the Maine CDC

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in Maine. Ticks are already out and we expect

the number of Lyme disease cases to increase as the weather continues to get warmer. May is Lyme

Disease Awareness Month in Maine.

 Provide general information regarding ticks and Lyme disease

 Remind providers to report cases of Lyme disease, including those diagnosed by erythema

 Provide resources on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease

 Remind providers that Anaplasma, Babesia and other tick borne diseases are also increasing in

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is carried by Ixodes scapularis (the deer tick). Cases have

been increasing each year in Maine, and occur in all 16 counties. Over 1,375 cases of Lyme disease

were reported statewide in 2013, a record high for Maine. Lyme disease is most common among school

age children and mature adults over the age of 65. Most infections occur during the summer months, and

as the weather continues to warm up, more ticks will be out in the open, and we are likely to see more

cases of Lyme disease. Cases have already been reported in 2014, and the number will rise as we enter

The most common early symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding red rash (erythema migrans) that

occurs 3-30 days after being bitten. Fever, joint and muscle pains may also occur. Untreated infections

can lead to clinical findings in skeletal, cardiac, and nervous systems. Disseminated manifestations of

disease include: arthritis characterized by recurrent, brief attacks of joint swelling; lymphocytic

meningitis; cranial neuritis (such as Bell’s palsy); encephalitis; and second or third degree

atrioventricular block. Lyme disease is treatable, and the majority of patients recover after receiving

 Remove the tick properly, ideally using tweezers or a tick spoon.

 Identify the tick and the engorgement level, or length in time of attachment. Tick identification

for a fee is available through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and more

information can be found at

 Clean the area around the bite, and instruct the patient to watch for signs and symptoms for 30

 Testing of the tick is not routinely recommended because even if the tick tests positive for Lyme,

that does not mean it was attached long enough to transmit the disease, and even if the tick tests

negative that does not mean that was a patient’s only exposure, and that does not eliminate the

possibility of Anaplasmosis or Babesiosis.

 Prophylaxis after a tick bite is not routinely recommended, but can be considered under specific

o Tick has been identified as an engorged deer tick that has been attached for over 24 hours

o Exposure occurred in an area where there is a high rate of infected ticks. Areas south of

Bangor have the highest rate of infected ticks in the state. There is limited data from the

more northern counties on the rate of infection among ticks.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC)

o Prophylaxis can be started with 72 hours. Even if prophylaxis is used, monitoring for

symptoms for 30 days is recommended.

 There is no data showing if prophylaxis is effective in preventing Anaplasmosis, and a single

dose of doxycycline will not have an effect on Babesiosis. As such, even if prophylaxis is used,

monitoring for symptoms for 30 days is recommended.

 Preferred laboratory testing is a two tier method, with an EIA or IFA test followed by Western

 IgM is only considered reliable in the first month after exposure

 IDSA guidelines for assessment, treatment, and prevention of Lyme disease are available at

Lyme disease is a reportable condition in the state of Maine. Report all diagnosed erythema migrans

rashes and all positive lab diagnoses. Cases can be reported by fax at 1-800-293-7534 or by phone at 1-

Other diseases that are carried by ticks in Maine include Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Powassan.

Symptoms of Anaplasma include: fever, headache, malaise and body aches. Symptoms of Babesia

include: extreme fatigue, aches, fever, chills, sweating, dark urine, and possibly anemia. Symptoms of

Powassan include: fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, loss of coordination, speech

difficulties, seizures, and encephalitis and meningitis. Preferred testing for both Babesiosis and

Anaplasmosis is by PCR. Most reference labs offer a tick borne disease panel by PCR. Powassan

testing is by ELISA or MIA and samples should be sent to HETL to be forwarded to federal CDC.

In 2013, providers reported 94 cases of Anaplasmosis, 36 cases of Babesiosis, and 1 case of Powassan.

Five anaplasmosis cases and two babesiosis cases have already been reported in 2014. Anaplasmosis,

Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are all reportable in Maine.

A Physician’s Reference Guide is available and describes the most common tick borne diseases in

Maine. This guide can be found on our website at:
disease/epi/vector-borne/index.shtml under Resources. Paper copies can be requested through

 Lyme disease data is available on Maine CDC’s website at and then

navigating to Maine Tracking Network: Lyme disease on the left navigation pane.

 For more information on tick borne diseases including Lyme:

 For IDSA Lyme disease treatment guidelines:

 To order Lyme educational materials:
disease/epi/order-form-wn.shtmlDisease consultation and reporting available through Maine

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC)

April 27, 2014