April 18, 2020

FSAR Tips for Wilderness Safety During Covid-19

1. What are some basic things for people to know about exploring the outdoors?
  • Stay close to home
  • Stay off the 'big peaks' and 'epic hikes' for now.
  • Don't participate in any high-risk outdoor activity 
  • Let someone know where you are going - have a plan and share it
  • Stay in familiar territory
  • Do you have the skills to self-rescue? EMS and SAR personnel may not be readily available to assist you.
  • Do you have a survival kit and know how to use it?
  • Stay on marked trails
  • Be advised, there is still deep snow in the backcountry!
  • Don't go alone but practice social distancing

2.  What are the ten essential items to pack for a day hike?
  1. Map and compass and the knowledge of how to use it. 
  2. Extra clothing/layers and rain gear
  3. First aid kit
  4. Food (a little more then you need)
  5. Hydration (water in container and method to purify)
  6. Sun Protection (sunscreen, sunglasses, Hat)
  7. Headlight or flashlight
  8. Fire (Matches and lighter)
  9. Knife and repair tools
  10. Shelter (tarp, space blanket, tent, bivy)
Plus:  Proper footwear (broken in)

3. What recommendations does FSAR have for outdoor-loving people at this time, to keep themselves and to keep emergency service first-responder crews safe? 

  • FSAR members have the same concerns for their family, their employment situation, personal health, and community health, as most in our community.  For these reasons, across the Search and Rescue spectrum in the US, teams will have fewer rescuers responding. FSAR is no different. During this time of the pandemic, we will have a limited response by team members.
  • Our ability to help injured people in need is greatly reduced
  • Stay off of the 4000' footers, stay close to home and not far from a road. 

April 1, 2020

ATC: Asking hikers to stay off the trail!! 4-1-2020

UPDATE: A.T. hikers are asked to postpone all hikes until further notice

The ATC will not recognize thru-hikes that continue after March 31, 2020 or for those who traveled through any areas that were posted closed when the hiker entered.

Until further notice, we have paused our thru-hiker registration system at ATcamp.org, and the handout of 2020 hangtags at all locations. We will relaunch these programs as soon as the CDC issues the “all clear.”


Dear 2020 A.T. Thru-hiker,
We hope this email finds you safe and healthy.
Since COVID-19 emerged as a threat, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has had two goals. First, we wanted to keep everyone in our community – volunteers, visitors, partners, and the Trail’s adjacent villages and towns – safe and healthy. Second, we wanted to protect the Trail while volunteers and staff were unable to access and take care of it. The only option to achieve both objectives was to ask everyone to stay away from the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), something we’ve never done before nor imagined doing.
Many thru-hikers heeded this call. For this, we are enormously grateful.
We know many thru-hikers made big sacrifices to keep the Trail’s visitors, volunteers, and its adjacent communities safe. So, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is adopting a special policy for this year’s thru-hiking class. We will recognize all 2020 thru-hikers who began their hikes this year and left the Trail prior to March 31, 2020, postponing until after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance stating it is safe to return to resume normal activities. Once the CDC issues this guidance, thru-hikers can pick up where they left off — whether at mile 5 or 500 — and have twelve months from the date they choose to resume their hikes to complete the remainder of their journeys and still be recognized by the ATC as a thru-hiker and 2,000-miler.
No one should be punished for doing the right thing. We want to make sure this year’s thru-hikers who left the Trail have every opportunity to accomplish their dream. And, we profoundly thank those who postponed their hikes entirely.
For thru-hikers remaining on the A.T., we advise you to leave the Trail immediately and shelter in place at the closest off-Trail lodging available to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19 until the CDC and local authorities advise it is safe to travel. Please consider:
  • Trail closures continue to increase with access points to the A.T. (e.g. trailheads and connecting trails) closed on US Forest Service land south of Virginia; shelters and privies closed on National Park Service land (Trail-wide) and on state park land in New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania (as well as all overnight camping in Maryland); perimeter closures for the Smokies and Graham County, North Carolina; and dozens of Trail businesses temporarily suspending services. For the most updated list, please visit ATC’s Trail Closures page.
  • The ATC will not recognize thru-hikes that continue after March 31, 2020 or for those who traveled through any areas that were posted closed when the hiker entered.
  • Until further notice, we have paused our thru-hiker registration system at ATcamp.org, and the handout of 2020 hangtags at all locations. We will relaunch these programs as soon as the CDC issues the “all clear.”
We firmly believe, during these difficult times, that unless everyone is safe, then no one is. We appreciate your assistance in keeping the Trail community safe and healthy.
If you have any questions, please contact us via email at info@appalachiantrail.org or phone at 304.535.6331. For updates and guidance involving COVID-19 and the A.T., please visit appalachiantrail.org/covid-19.
Sincerely,
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy Team

February 9, 2020

Cold Weather Medical Training: Marcolini

Franklin Search & Rescue monthly training and meeting
Wednesday, Feb 12, 2020,  6:30 p.m.
Kingfield Fire Station

Paul Marcolini will conduct a cold-weather medical training focusing on hyperthermia, frostbite and avalanche awareness training.  Paul is an outstanding instructor, so please join us for an informative evening. 

Gear to share: Bring your personal medical kit

Reminders: 
  • Dues are due!  Members: If you have not paid your 2020 dues, John will collect them on Wednesday.
  • Rope rescue team (including anyone interested in joining the rope rescue team) will meet for a short training before the regular meeting beginning at 5:30 at KFD. 


All interested people are encouraged to attend, bring a friend!



September 11, 2019

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Class, October 26-27, Farmington, Maine $199



Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

Wilderness Medical Associates International - Wilderness First Aid
Hosted by: Franklin Search & Rescue

Dates:
WFA: October 26 & 27, 2019 (2-day class) $199 

Location: Farmington Fire Department, Farmington Maine

Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

Cost: $199 

The best and most comprehensive course of its kind, WFA offers relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities or short-term wilderness endeavors and pursuits.  Wilderness First Aid is a two-day course covering general medical concepts and basic life support skills. It is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast on day trips or short adventures. The course is taught by a professional instructor with significant backcountry care experience.

Instructor by: Paul Marcolini, Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMA)  http://www.wildmed.com/ 

Sponsored by: Franklin Search & Rescue (FSAR)

Course topics:
Patient Assessment System; CPR; Circulatory System; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Musculoskeletal Injuries and Splinting; Hypothermia; Hyperthermia and Heat Illness; Submersion Injuries; Lightning Injuries; Wounds and Burns; Anaphylaxis; Lifting, Moving Extrication; Patient Carries; Backcountry Medicine 
Certifications:
The WFA course is scheduled for two days or 16 hours of instructional and practice time. Upon successful completion, students will receive certification in Wilderness First Aid and Adult CPR.  This certification is good for 3 years. 

Students will receive the following books on this course:
  • Wilderness First Aid Guide
  • SOAP Notebook;
  • The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook 
Evaluation
Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills, and a successful grade on a final written exam.
Prerequisites
Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in this course. Those under 18 years of age require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

To register:
Please follow this link to register for the WMA class this fall:

Payment:
Please send a check made out to FSAR for $199 to the team treasurer:

John Rollhauser
Franklin SAR
P.O. Box 421
Kingfield, ME 04947

Before your name will be added to the roster and your slot reserved, tuition must be paid in full. 

Thank you!

John Rollhauser
FSAR Treasurer

Question?  Contact: John Rollhauser
fsarinformation@gmail.com  443-472-2138

March 29, 2019

Lost Person Behavior Training

The FSAR monthly training was on lost person behavior.  We used Rober Koester's book, as a reference tool to help determine where to put search resources.  After a short power point presentation, four fictitious search scenarios were presented to each group.



 Groups had 15 minutes to review the search profile and scenario map to develop a hasty-team search plan.

Using the strengths and personal experience base of all team members, a search plan was created.
 Ed is a 32 y.o. Hunter, visiting from CT, hunting with his cousin Bert in unfamiliar terrain.  Bert set him up in a tree stand at 6 a.m. then climbed into his stand ¼ mile away in a different tree stand.  When Bert returned at noon, Ed was missing. His gun, pack and all personal items were still in the tree stand.

 Newer members were mixed in with more experienced members, everyone brings something to the conversation.


To conclude, we reviewed each scenario together and discussed a logical plan of action.



March 14, 2019

Baxter State Park Winter Mountineering Workshop March 2019


FSAR’s John Rollhauser and Melissa Shea participated in the annual SAR Winter Training at Baxter March 2-4, 2019. 



 Team members from 5 other state teams worked with Baxter State Park rangers to learn mountaineering skills, avalanche awareness and transceiver rescue, and fixed line travel with snow anchors.

 Melissa taught the avalanche awareness and transceiver training and presented the group a slideshow of her recent trip to Nepal.

February 13, 2019

Tonight's FSAR Meeting Has Been Postponed Until Feb. 20

Due to the storm, the FSAR training/meeting has been postponed one week until Wed. Feb 20 at 6:30.



September 26, 2018

Little Pico Rope Rescue Training 9-23-2018

The FSAR Rope Rescue Team recently had a ½ day training at ‘Little Pico’ cliffs in Industry Maine.  The team setup and used a dual tension mainline and belay system using the VT prusik. The VT prusik is a change for the team, introduced last fall at the ‘Rigging For Rescue’ workshop on MDI.  During the training we set up each station together so that we could discuss the pros and cons of different variations of setup. Team leader Melissa did a great job of facilitating this training.



 It was a beautiful fall day to be at this site.




September 12, 2018

Wilderness First Aid Class, Oct. 27-28, in Farmington, Me.



Wilderness First Aid (WFA)

Wilderness Medical Associates International - Wilderness First Aid
Hosted by: Franklin Search & Rescue

Dates:
WFA: October 27 & 28, 2018 (2-day class) $175

Location: Farmington Fire Department, Farmington Maine

Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

Cost: $175  
The best and most comprehensive course of its kind, WFA offers relevant and realistic first-aid training for seasonal outdoor activities or short-term wilderness endeavors and pursuits.  Wilderness First Aid is a two-day course covering general medical concepts and basic life support skills. It is targeted to the outdoor enthusiast on day trips or short adventures. The course is taught by a professional instructor with significant backcountry care experience.

Instructor by: Paul Marcolini, Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMA)  http://www.wildmed.com/

Sponsored by: Franklin Search & Rescue (FSAR) http://franklinsar.blogspot.com/

Course topics:
Patient Assessment System; CPR; Circulatory System; Nervous System; Respiratory System; Musculoskeletal Injuries and Splinting; Hypothermia; Hyperthermia and Heat Illness; Submersion Injuries; Lightning Injuries; Wounds and Burns; Anaphylaxis; Lifting, Moving Extrication; Patient Carries; Backcountry Medicine
Certifications:
The WFA course is scheduled for two days or 16 hours of instructional and practice time. Upon successful completion, students will receive certification in Wilderness First Aid and Adult CPR.

Students will receive the following books on this course:
  • Wilderness First Aid Guide
  • SOAP Notebook;
  • The Outward Bound Wilderness First-Aid Handbook



Evaluation
Successful completion with certification is based on 100% attendance, satisfactory performance on homework assignments, demonstrated proficiency with practical skills, and a successful grade on a final written exam.
Prerequisites
Students must be at least 16 years old to participate in this course. Those under 18 years of age require the written consent of a parent or guardian.

To register:
Please follow this link to register for the WMA class this fall:

Scholarship:
Franklin Search and Rescue (FSAR) with the help of the Carrabassett Valley Outdoor Education Fund, will offer several partial scholarships for our WFA course in October. Applicants for the $75 scholarship should send an email describing, “How I envision using my WFA skills after completing the class” to:   FSARInformation@gmail.com

Payment:
Please send a check made out to FSAR for $175 to the team secretary:

Steve Mitman
FSAR Secretary
27 Ivy Rd.
Strong, Maine
04983

Before your name will be added to the roster and your slot reserved, tuition must be paid in full.

If you are an FSAR team member, please pay me at the September 13 FSAR meeting.

Thank you!

Steve Mitman
FSAR Secretary

Question?  Contact: Steve Mitman
fsarinformation@gmail.com  (207) 491-2713

July 19, 2018

Bigelow Range, West Peak, Spot Rescue 7-12-2018

July 12, 2018
Bigelow Range, West Peak A.T. Rescue

In the late afternoon on Thursday July 12th a Spot receiver was activated from the Appalachian Trail, on a section that traverses the Bigelow Mountain range in Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

The Spot was activated by an AT southbound through- hiker, “Double Blaze” of London, England. She had fallen on a rocky section of the trail, just south of West Peak.  The fall resulted in a severely injured left ankle. Maine Warden Service initiated the search, along with Northstar EMS, Eustis Fire, and FSAR. FSAR members were paged through our “I Am Responding” communication system which notifies members of SAR incidents.

Al S. and Pat C. responded initially and were at the AT route 27 trail head command post by 6 pm.  Jeff Z. responded later that evening.

Command and control was handled by the Maine Warden Service.  Wardens Scott Thrasher and Scott Stevens gathered information and quickly put together a hasty team of four who were tasked with locating the source of the Spot and assessing patient injury and evacuation.

Warden Stevens, Pat C of  Franklin SAR, Garrett M. – Eustis Fire and Rescue, and Greg D. – North Star EMS, geared up and headed up the trail shortly after 7 pm.  The plan was to hike up to Horns Pond, gather any information from day or through hikers and locate Ms. Custer.

Darkness arrived just before we got to Horns Pond.

Only three hikers were staying at Horn’s Pond when we arrived and no one had heard or seen Double Blaze. We purified drinking water out of the pond and headed up….and up….and reached the South Horn at 10:45pm.  After determining the exact location of the Spot signal we figured we were within 1 mile of the subject. Through “sound search” techniques a loud whistle was blown about every 5 minutes. After the whistle was blown we would listen for a response.  Around 11 pm and found our subject. She had set up her small tent in the trail and was very happy to see the four of us. Patient assessment revealed Double Blaze’s ankle was quite swollen, bruised, and possibly fractured.

We looked at the options and decided we would splint and get our patient mobile and start working our way north on the AT, back toward the fire warden's trail where we would head down. The patient proved to be well prepared both physically and mentally. Assisting her with each and every step was slow as we anticipated and she was incredibly positive and physically tough.

The weather was clear, mild, and ideal however we still moved at a slow pace. By 3 am we were still ¼ mile below tree line at 3,800 ft., and everyone was understandably exhausted.  We decided to get a couple hours of sleep and recharge before we push ahead.

On the move again by 5 am we tried piggybacking her up the trail. Where it was flat it worked fine, however the trail had few flat spots and we were once again working at a snail's pace. We contacted the command post and had them call out the resources for assistance with a carry out team.  Getting above tree line it was clear it would take many hours to reach West Peak and given the favorable weather conditions for a helicopter evacuation Warden Thrasher called in for an air evacuation from the summit of Bigelow Mt... Maine Forest Service was contacted and we heard back within 30 minutes with a confirmation that they would attempt a short haul, having never landed on the West Peak of Bigelow Mountain.  They planned for a rendezvous with us on the summit at approximately 8:00 am.

The helo staged at the CV airport and made a quick stop before flying up to assess the site conditions. To our surprise and good fortune the aircraft was able to set down on top of West peak with rotors still spinning.  It was quite a sight to see the helicopter sitting on one of Maine’s highest peaks. The patient was safely put inside and brought down to the airport where Northstar had a transport waiting to go to Franklin Memorial Hospital.

The remaining four of us geared up and scooted down the Fire Warden's trail where we were greeted at Stratton Brook by Warden Scott Thrasher with hot breakfast sandwiches, donuts, and water!

Many thanks to the Maine Forest Service and local support teams staged and ready to assist in what would have been a long and treacherous carry out.


Account written by: Pat Cyr FSAR