February 10, 2015

FSAR Monthly Meeting/Training Wednesday, Feb 11, KFD

FSAR Monthly Meeting/Training
Wednesday, Feb 11
6:30 p.m. 
Kingfield Fire Station 

  • Communications- on scene radio and cell communications, text, dispatch, email
  • SOP review
  • MASAR Conference Update
  • Gear to share: Radio Harness and phone Apps for the back country
As always, any interested people are welcomed to attend to check FSAR out!

January 30, 2015

Save the Date!! MASAR Conference May 16 & 17 2015


2015 MASAR Conference
May 16 & 17, 2015
YMCA Camp of Maine,

Centrally located just 10 minutes off i 95 in Winthrop, Maine
On beautiful Lake Cobbossee

Many great workshops
Bunkhouse and camping accommodations (plenty of room for each team)
Fantastic facility with lots of room for training

Registration beginning in early April.

Mark your calendar now!

January 21, 2015

FSAR members drive to Rome Italy and Back, and then a little more!

How many volunteer miles did FSAR members drive/donate to help our community in search & rescue operations and training between July 2013 and July of 2014?

8558 miles!

This is enough to drive from Kingfield Maine (if there was a road) to the coliseum in Rome, Italy and back and then to Washington D.C.!!!!


January 12, 2015

FSAR Monthly Meeting & Training January 14, 2015 6:30 p.m. KFD

FSAR Monthly Meeting & Training
January 14, 2015
6:30 p.m. Kingfield Fire Department

Wow do we have a lot of good stuff lined up for this Wednesday’s FSAR meeting!

Training: Evidence Preservation with Mark Lopez (CVPD)

Update on SOP progress.
Update on MASAR Conference
Update on Baxter
Gear to share: Bring what you use to record information on a search/rescue.  
Treasurer Report

All members: your annual dues $20 are due at the January meeting.  
If you have not yet done so, please bring your completed CERT applications.

As always, any interested people are welcome to attend!

Mark Lopez (CVPD)

January 8, 2015

Boston Globe Article on Gerry Largay

This is a photo that every SAR team member in the state of Maine will never forget, the last known photo of  Geraldine Largay.  FSAR members have volunteered over 1000 hours of their, vacation, weekend and personal time to help discover what happened to Geraldine Largay and bring closure for the family. 

The Boston Globe posted this article last week. 

We are still looking for you Gerry, we will not give up. 

December 10, 2014

FSAR meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled!

The FSAR meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled.

Our next meeting is January 14, at the Kingfield fire station. 

The January training at this meeting will be crime scene preservation.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

October 31, 2014

Baxter State Park completes study of Search and Rescue incidents in the Park

(posted with permission from the Friends of Baxter State Park)

Baxter State Park recently released a study of search and rescue (SAR) activities in the Park over the past 22 years. The report reveals trends in the types of injuries, ages of the victims, and causes leading to the injuries. Studying these trends will help park staff prepare for the incidents they are most likely to encounter, and educate visitors on how to avoid problems in the Park.

The majority of SAR incidents in Baxter State Park are related to hiking.
Lower extremity injuries topped the list of issues at 26%. 
Exhaustion was the second highest at 16%. 
Fatigue was a major precipitating factor to serious injuries.
Several other interesting trends emerge from the data:
Men comprise 60% of the individuals requiring SAR;
women comprise 40%.
Hikers over the age of 60 are more likely to require SAR.
These visitors comprise 8% of park use, but 18% of SAR incidents.

The vast majority of SAR incidents happen while descending a mountain, rather than on the climb.
Dehydration, exhaustion, and underpreparedness were secondary factors in many incidents.
According to the report, it is important to understand the difficulty of the hike, trail conditions, weather predictions, and your own physical condition before setting out on a hike.

Katahdin is one of the most strenuous day hikes in New England. Nutrition, hydration, proper footwear, and appropriate clothing are very important.

The Friends of BSP publishes a brochure called Know Before you Go, with tips on how to be prepared for a trip to the Park. Click here to download a copy of this brochure, and stay safe out there!

October 9, 2014

From a recent FSAR Team Member Survey:

What are your favorite outdoor activities? 

day hiking2083%
backpacking (overnight hiking)1563%
section hiking521%
through hiking14%
fishing (spin casting)313%
fly fishing 1354%
Geo cashing14%
Whitewater (any type)625%
rock climbing938%

October 2, 2014

FSAR At Baxter Sept 2014

Baxter, September 27 & 28, 2014
By FSAR Team President, Steve Yates

I arrived at the Togue Pond Bunkhouse at dusk just as teammates Jim A. and Melissa were dragging themselves out of the Subaru.  They spent Thursday night camping in the park and connected with their client before sunrise that Friday morning. They guided a client up, over, and back down Katahdin for the last 12 hours.  The three of us exited the park just long enough for dinner at the River Drivers Tavern.  Arriving back at the bunkhouse, we found Paul, Evie, and two interns Dan and Tanja, from the Yale University School of Medicine, unloading their vehicles.  Paul, Evie, Dan, Tanja, and I set up our tents in the pines over looking Togue Pond while Jim and Melissa vied for the bunks.

      Saturday morning dawned clear and mild.  Through my tent screen, I had a stunning view of the south side of Katadhin with the lower slopes dressed in every shade of red and orange imaginable.  Jim and Melissa had  coffee, pancakes, and hardboiled eggs for all that were interested.  We spent the morning getting acquainted with Dan and Tanja, perusing maps and sorting though packs as we waited for Pat and Karen to arrive.

    We settled on a mission for the day after some deliberation.  Evidently Stuart (park director) had expressed safety concerns in and around the Little and Big Niagara Falls.  We caravanned into Daicy Pond pausing to check out the facilities; I definitely see myself and Alice spending some time there next summer! From Daicy, we hiked south on the Niagara Trail for 30 minutes to the first set of falls.  The rope techies surveyed our surroundings and found rocks, ledges, and water that could present a hazard to hikers and sightseers.  This was our training scene for the next few hours.  After unsuccessfully scouring the rock for cracks that would support the cams and nuts needed for support, two trees were selected as anchors.  A belay line was set up, then a lowering line.  Paul demonstrated the rigging plate and Melissa demonstrated the scarab.  Tanja jumped at the chance to be lowered, grinning the whole time.  Once at the bottom of the slope, Pat reconfigured the system for ascending with a 3/1 ratio and then added a pulley for a 9/1 system.  It was an enjoyable afternoon of learning, lots of time for questions and discussion, brilliant sun, blue sky, water rushing past us, and temps in the mid 70’s.


     Jim created the perfect dinner ambiance with a single candle on white granite in the center of the picnic table.   Dinner was pot luck: beans and franks, lasagna, salad, steak, and spaghetti.  No one left the table hungry.  After eating, Dan and Tanja spoke of their experiences in Africa.  Dan worked in South Africa primarily with victims of AIDS and Tanja was at ground zero of the ebola outbreak in Liberia.  Their stories were heartbreaking, giving us a personal and unbiased perspective that we do not get on the evening news.  The images that they conveyed are still with me a week later.  

      On Sunday, Dan and Tanja made an early departure from Togue to hike Kathadin.  The rest of us did a short hike leaving Roaring Brook Rd., around Rum Pond, and back to Tote Rd.  We did perform a rescue as we helped repair a flat tire on the Tote Road.  Back at Togue Pond, we took down our tents, cleaned up the bunk house, and vacated the park by 1400. 

Respectively Submitted,
Steve Yates

Baxter Crew:  Jim A, Melissa S, Paul and Evie M, Pat and Karen C, Steve Y.  Interns: Dan and Tanja

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!