May 26, 2010

NorthStar EMS Smalls Falls Training WIth DK By: Gabe Gunning

This past weekend was a doozy up here in Franklin county. It was absolutely beautiful and it also happened to be that time of year. Yes, the annual spring Smalls Falls Training coordinated by the 2010 Northstar EMS Employee of the Year, Dennis Kerrigan WEMT-P. The Smalls Falls Training has become a treasured time when Franklin SAR, Northstar, and area Fire Agencies, mainly Phillips and Rangeley Fire, can all come together for some quality training time with ropes and water in the vertical realm.

This particular session occurred over a two day timeframe which is something of a new concept. This is how it worked: day one was a basic seminar regarding ropes techniques, essentially an awareness level class delving into some operational techniques. It is a great review and a thorough introduction specifically for the ropes systems that are carried on all first out duty rigs in the Northstar System. Day two, on Sunday was an advanced ropes day, more of a full on operational day, where the rubber really meets the road.

Saturday was a Phillips day: Jim Gould, Phillips Fire Chief, Tim of Phillips Fire and avid ropes guy, and Stan Wilcox Northstar paramedic and Phillips Fire member came on Saturday along with the Northstar Phillips Duty Crew of the Day Nate Delavan and Colby Atwood. It was great to see so many folks from the Phillips perspective especially as Phillips Fire has coverage of the Smalls Falls area. The training was full of directed energy with a small dedicated team of learners and lot’s of rescuer pearls were given out by DK. We finished just as some nasty weather started coming in hot and fast.

Day two was great! It started off with a bang at the end of the introductions and course briefing. Along with the usual suspects of the smalls falls training, mainly DK, Al Sleight, and myself, Jeff from FSAR and the folks from Phillips Fire, the Northstar Phillips Duty Crew of the Day, Darlene Peters and Dan Brown; Northstar Rangeley Duty Crew of the Day, Ben Guild and Peggy Betts; and Stan Wilcox and Jeremy O’Neil, Northstar paramedics all were in attendance. So back to the bang: a tweenage girl (mysteriously similar in appearance to one of DK’s daughters) came up to the group yelling that her father had just fallen off the cliff! The clock started and the team got their gear together and made the traverse over to the main falls to initiate the scene size up.

The simulation was a smashing success! From initial patient access to all rescuers back in the cold zone of the scene with the patient (Luigi the manikin) secured took a little less than an hour. This included setting up an initial dropline for two rescuers (Ben and Jeff) to gain access to the patient along with setting up a vertical raise/lower of a litter / attendant system (Tim on the first round and Jeremy for the second) and backup safety systems. After lunch, we did another rescue cycle and broke down each component of the rescue system together for further knowledge building and understanding of the mechanical reasoning behind the system.

Lessons learned: as DK continues to stress, proper technical rescue scene responses are all about appropriate utilization of the technology and knowledge on hand. Our response capability within the Franklin County system has reached a point where we keep the rescue response as simple as possible. It really all comes down to rescue before medicine. You can do medicine until the cows come home but if you aren’t able to get the patient and rescuers safely out of the scene, then where is the success? This point was driven home on both Saturday’s training session and last fall’s session as well. Both of these sessions took place along the roadway / falls interface where last year Maine DOT did some major Route 4 remodeling and deforestation allowing for some of the riskiest all-hazards response profiles one could ever think up. See a prior post for that write up as to why its so truly scary.

Till next time, which I believe is the Summer Version of our Annual Northstar/FSAR Backcountry Jamboree.(Rapid River in August)

Photos and article by: Gabe Gunning,
Thanks Gabe!

May 20, 2010

Smalls Falls Rope Rescue Training May 22-23

These are the details for this weekend’s Smalls Falls Rope Rescue Training.  If you do not have any rope training, I would recommend attending both Saturday & Sunday’s class. For the advanced class, Sunday is the day!
Please RSVP to Dennis.
Saturday May 22 10:00a - 4:00p Intro / Basic Rope Rescue Class Smalls Falls (Madrid) Dennis Kerrigan, WEMT-P, Instr. Free. Bring sturdy footwear, appropriate clothing and bag lunch Please let Dennis know if you're coming:

Sunday May 23 10:00a - 4:00p Advanced Rope Rescue Skills Class Smalls Falls (Madrid) Dennis Kerrigan, WEMT-P, Instr. Free. Bring sturdy footwear, appropriate clothing and bag lunch Please let Dennis know if you're coming:

May 13, 2010

Links to Gear Suppliers Mentioned by the SERE Instructors

Hi all,

Ben with FSAR & Northstar Backcountry obtained this great list of gear suppliers from the SERE instructors at this past weekend’s training in Redington. Awesome list Ben, Thanks! Not only do they have supplies but resources as well for map work. Military clothing and what not Clothing for PD, outdoors, and what not. nice supplies for outdoor/rescue Arcteryx is a outdoor company that has lots of backcountry supplies like coats, pants, and other clothing.
Fire starting supplies demonstarted or mentioned during the training:

Duck tape
chapstck on cotton balls
zero form in a foil package
hand sanitizer
Potassium permanganate and sugar
cotton swab and Vaseline
9 volt battery with coin or steel wool
maxi pad
flint and steel
saw dust and paraffin wax

Thanks Ben!

May 9, 2010

MASAR Spring Conference at the USN SERE School in Redington, Maine

Sunny with temps in the 70’s....not!!
‘Train like we search/rescue and search/rescue like we train’ was the motto of the MASAR Spring conference at the SERE School in Redington, Maine. With a steady rain, a stiff breeze and temps peaking in the low 40’s, 66 members from all over the state converged on the US Navy’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape) school in Redington for a day of training with 4 of the school’s instructors. After being divided into 3 groups, participants received detailed instruction on trapping animals for food, wilderness shelter building, and fire starting and overall survival techniques for the backcountry. Many thanks to Jim, Joe, Steve, Deb and the SERE crew, all of whom donated their time to make the event a success.

Click photos for a larger version

May 3, 2010

Wilderness First Aid Class by WIlderness Medical Associates IFD May 2010

Copy by Jim Logan
Photos by Steve Mitman

May First and Second, FSAR members Steve M, Jeff, and Jim, participated in a Wilderness First Aid course offered by Wilderness Medical Associates at the Industry Fire Department. This class was sponsored by NorthStar EMS and funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. There will be three other classes offered later in the year in other parts of Franklin County.

The course dealt with basics of emergency tactics covering a broad variety of problems one might encounter at any time of the year on land or water in FSAR situations or in recreational activities in Maine. Anaphylactic shock, lightning strike, hypothermia and heat –related conditions, broken limbs, internal injuries, and core first aid and CPR were among the subjects. In addition to classroom time, the course included simulations which gave opportunities to apply what was learned in more life-like situations. Two especially useful handouts were provided and familiarization with equipment and alternative uses and materials was very helpful.

There were three top-notch instructors, (2 of which, Mike and Gabe are also FSAR members!) and 8 students in this class, everyone agreed there was a lot learned. The FSAR participants agreed the class was enjoyable and rewarding and they look forward to additional courses to build on this one with a possible progression to WAFA (Wilderness Advanced First Aid) and WFR (Wilderness First Responder) levels.