February 15, 2017

Winter Rope Rescue Training at Cascade Falls, Feb 12, 2017

FSAR had a great ½ day ‘on rope’ training at Cascade Falls in Farmington on Sunday.  8 team members met before 8 a.m. at Pat’s house about ¼ mile from the falls. After admiring the the amazing progress on Pat’s new garage/shop project we headed off to the trail-head.  

The fresh and deep snowpack made snowshoes a requirement to get to the falls. Team members made quick work of packing down the training area and setting up the required anchors and systems: mainline, belay, edge attendant, safety, and rigging an egress line and packing down the exit route from the bottom of the falls.

A good humored crew!

The egress from the bottom of the falls was this climb back to the top. 

Jeff prepares to rap over while Shannon acts as edge attendant. 

 Melissa, the rope rescue team leader designed the training with well written directions but due to a serious knee injury sustained a week earlier, she was at home recovering from surgery.  Instructor Paul did a great job outlining objectives, and giving an overview but then had the team get ‘hands-on’ quickly.

Our first evolution was to have every member rappel down the rock face using the friction device of their choice which included a backup prusik.  Good discussions were had all morning about technique and the many different rigging options that exist at each station. Each evolution we would often be rigged a slightly different way by team members. Members swapped stations after each person rapped so that all could practice a different job.  Critiques were held often and we discussed learnings and asked questions. Paul served as safety officer all morning and each evolution included a belay rope.

As usual, John won the 'most cool gear on his harness' award....

The second evolution consisted of a simulated injured hiker who required a ‘pick-off’ rescue.  Jimmy did a great job hanging out while the team rigged Mit to conduct the ‘pick’.  Mit got to use his new Aztek kit during the rescue to transfer the load/patient to the mainline.  The team rigged a 3:1 to raise the 2-person load up the face to safety.  Suspending the patient about 3 feet below the rescuer worked best in this location for the raise.

 Throughout the day, members had a good time, working together, thinking, discussing ideas, learning new and reinforcing old skills. Team-building and working side by side in a rope rescue situation was a highlight for many. Many thanks to Paul for carrying out Melissa’s well planned training.  Thanks also to John who transported and then dried out the team gear at KFD post training.

The training concluded just after noon.

Paul's small-group coaching style was very effective and appreciated.

John brought his cool 'pulk sled'  to transport team gear.

The temps never got out of the teens, but folks were dressed for it.

Time to wash that jacket Mit!

All photos were taken by Jimmy and Mit

December 12, 2016

FSAR Monthly Meeting, Wednesday Dec. 14, 18:30 KFD

Franklin Search & Rescue Monthly Training & Meeting

Wednesday, Dec 14, 6:30 Kingfield FD

Tabletop Scenario Training (Barry)

FSAR team gear review, are we ready for winter? Al, Paul, et al.

Gear to share: Winter head and face protection, what is your favorite combo?

Invite a friend and please share this email with others!

Rigging For Rescue Returns to Maine, 19-22 October 2017 on MDI

Every-other-year in Maine, Mount Desert Island Search & Rescue Team hosts a 4-day statewide training.  The internationally recognized training organization Rigging for Rescue form Ouray Colorado will conduct this year's training on 19-22 October 2017 on MDI.   


Interested FSAR members will need to commit soon as the 20 slots in this class are expected to fill quickly. 

The first three days will be a refresher and also an introduction to new and/or updated techniques.  The fourth day will be devoted to advanced skills and problem-solving. 

Interested in this kind of work?  Check out an FSAR monthly meeting/training on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 at the Kingfield Fire Station. 

Photos from the 2013 Rigging Class on MDI

October 12, 2016

FSAR Annual Fitness Test, Wednesday Oct. 12

FSAR Annual Fitness Test
Meeting with Tim Hardy FCEMA
Oct. 12

6 p.m. (note this is earlier than normal!)

at Mt. Abram High School located at 
1513 Salem Rd  Salem Township, ME 04983

If you are not taking the fitness test, come at 6:45 for a short meeting with Tim Hardy the Franklin County Emergency Management Director.

Please bring your favorite pack weighing a total of 25 lbs. 

Dress in clothing appropriate for weather.

Footwear: comfortable/sturdy for walking FAST around a track with 25 lbs on your back!
Water & headlight are advised.

Members who are unable to make the meeting or are injured, can do this test on any measured 2 mile surface when you are ready. 

This is a great time to learn your current fitness level and to help you set personal limits for SAR response. 

September 11, 2016

FSAR’s First Meeting-Training of the Fall Season!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
6:30-8 Kingfield Fire Station

Training: Communication with the press what to say, what not to say.

Gear to share: Transitioning from summer to fall, what are you changing in your ready-pack? (show and tell)

All interested people are welcome to attend, bring a friend.

* Team members: if you have any ‘team gear’ at home, please bring it on Wednesday. During the summer season, gear gets used and spread around, let’s restock the trailer!

August 9, 2016

FSAR on SAR duty at Chimney Pond in Baxter SP August 5-6-7, 2016

Thanks to Jerome, Skip and Jimmy for these photos, a write-up about the SAR duty weekend is coming soon! 

2.  Looking down on a North Basin rainbow!

3. On 3rd buttress of Cathedral trail looking down across 2nd buttress and Chimney Pond.

 4.John, Jerome, and Skip on Cathedral Trail.



7. John & Jerome on Cathedral Trail.

8.  Base of Chimney.

9.  Looking up into Chimney.








July 5, 2016

FSAR SAR Duty in Baxter State Park, July 1-5, 2016

Each year Franklin Search & Rescue provides SAR coverage in Baxter State Park on 2-3 different weekends.  Park rangers and staff are grateful that MASAR teams are in the park on weekends to support rescue or search efforts when they arise. SAR team members are ‘on duty’ from 2-10 p.m. each day as this is when the bulk of the incidents occur in the park.

‘Baxter weekends’ are a great time to train, hike, eat and explore together as a team.  

Mt. Katahdin from our campsite on Togue Pond (Photo: Melissa)

6 FSAR team members provided Search & Rescue Duty for a total of 4 days this weekend!  

Within 2 hours of arriving on Friday, Skip, Mit and John were sent on a mission to check in with 2 separate injured hikers on the Chimney Trail.  We did not return to the Togue Pond crew cabin until after 11:30 p.m!

Saturday morning Mit and John hiked the new Abol Trail sign up the mountain.

The Abol Trail has been closed for a few (2-3?) years due to unstable conditions on the slide.  BSP has MCCC crews constructing a new section of trail that bypass the most unstable part of Abol slide. The new (longer) trail opened the day before we arrived!  This trail is beautifully constructed, with (for now) soft footing, switch-backs and some great overlooks to the Hunt Trail boulder ridge to the West. 

If you love the steep boulder scramble at the top of the old Abol trail, you are in luck, the new trail cuts back to the east to join the original trail near the top. 

We completed our mission with a few lag bolts on the sign post at Thoreau Springs.  The wind was really howling at this point and the rain became more steady.

70 mph. winds and steady rain did not dampen our resolve to summit!

It was not until we crested the Saddle Trail and began our descent, that we begin to get breaks in clouds (and rain). Here, Chimney Pond can be seen with sunny terrain beyond. Katahdin makes it's own weather, once we got off the mountain, it was sunny down below! We made it back to camp before 9 p.m.

We had a drying party the next morning, everything was soaked!

(photo: Melissa)

Jimmy rescued the utility rope on the water tower!

(photo: Melissa) 
Melissa, Jimmy and Mit visited Ledge Falls (looking south to Doubletop Mtn.) and the Nesowadnehunk Campground because we had never visited this part of the park.  An important part of SAR duty is to become familiar with as many trails and campground locations as possible. 

The weekend food was outstanding! Bill grilled portabella mushrooms with feta and tomato, Melissa brought a pasta bake, Jimmy made stir-fry and Skip grilled marinated chicken and made potato salad. OMG!

Oh but Bill is not done!, Grilled trout (caught earlier that day).

Not to be outdone, Skip rounded the meal out with fresh strawberry shortcake, mmmmm

One group explored the Nature Trail loop at Roaring Brook with guide, Bill.  They also visited Sandy Stream Pond and saw a cow and calf moose grazing in the pond! (I'll insert photo when someone sends it to me!)

On his way out of the park, Mit hiked the new OJI trail.

Doubletop from OJI

It was windy most days during this duty. 

Most team members pitched tents on the pond. 

John purifies water on the trail. 

View from the top of the Abol slide.