April 30, 2011
Life Flight & Aaron at Strong FD did a nice job with a 2 hour helicopter awareness training today at the Strong Legion Field. Approximately 40 participants from local EMS, FD, CERT and SAR organizations watched a PowerPoint presentation by a Life Flight representative about many aspects of the helicopter EMS service.
Initial contact with Life Flight should be made by the local FD or EMS through Franklin dispatch. In order to land, a minimum landing zone (LZ) of 100' x 100' clearing that is free from loose debris and obstacles is needed. A 20' x20' patch of firm, dry earth or well packed snow is also required at the center of the LZ for the wheels of the aircraft to sit on. Local communications with the aircraft should be made on the State Fire channel. One of the most dangerous obstacles for the landing aircraft are utility wires. Ground personnel should make the pilot aware of any wires in the area. The word 'ABORT' said on state fire over the radio should be used if any situation arises that would make the landing of takeoff dangerous like a child running out onto the field or an unseen overhead wire. The highlight of the presentation is when a Life Flight helicopter arrived for show & tell.
Thanks to Aaron and SFD for hosting the training.
April 17, 2011
I asked FSAR members to send me their favorite outdoor, camping, hiking, rescue, and gear web sites. Here is the first batch; I’ll add more as I get them. -Mit
Since I subscribed in early October, backpackinglight.com has been my site of choice.
Almost all product reviews have been thorough, and the forums add to that. Other articles have also been worthwhile. For example, there was a recent one by Mike Clelland on food for an extended trip that I found most interesting and have flagged it for quick referral when the time comes. They have irritated some of their crowd by going away from hyper-super-ultra light, but that is good for me; however, the hard-core people are also worth hearing from. The range of things considered is impressive.
For gear, I have for years used REI (I’ve been a member for 25 years). They have a wide range of items although many of the specialty brands cited in BPL, for example, are not carried. They also have useful product information and comparison charts are easy to put together. I look at Bean’s only when I have a very specific item that I am uneasy about: might I dislike it enough to want the easiest of returns? For example, I am soon going to buy a new sleeping pad quite likely a light-weight Thermarest, which is unlikely to be discounted AND which may have problems with leaks, so I’ll probably buy from Bean’s.
I will add that for gear, especially when getting items not carried by the big stores that will give refunds (Bean’s, REI, EMS), it is somewhat dicey because it is hard even to view the products in New England. My GoLite packs and coat fit into that group. The new tent I bought over the winter was easier because the friend I have gone on overnighters within the past year has one so I knew what I was getting. (I can’t wait to use it!) Other items are much less sure and often they cannot be returned if the labels are off or they appear any less than As New.
April 11, 2011
The next FSAR meeting will be this Wednesday, April 13 at 6:30 at the KFD.
Gear to share: Please bring your favorite Rain Gear to share with the team. Gear sharing time is a great opportunity to share what you have found to work well and/or see what others are using to inform your next purchase.
Topics of discussion:
- Upcoming training opportunities summer plan
- Baxter review and photos
- MASAR Spring Conference
- EMS Conference
- LifeFlight Training
- Wheel use
- BASAR Certification
- Shelter Building discussion/training (indoors)
April 5, 2011
The following was written by Franklin Search & Rescue’s (FSAR) Vice President Pat Cyr. Pat organized FSAR’s first formal visit to the park which has opened the door to more training opportunities the in the future. There is a MASAR member (Maine Search & Rescue) rescue team training at Baxter on most weekends during the summer hiking months and on some weekends during the winter climbing season. All interested hikers and outdoors people are welcome to check out FSAR during our monthly meetings which are held at the Kingfield Fire Station on the second Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 13.
FSAR Winter Training - Chimney Pond, Baxter State Park 3/25-3/27/11
Attending : Pat Cyr, Chuck Royce, Barry London, Pete Boucher, Seb Tooker
In February I submitted an application to Baxter State Park for FSAR to conduct a winter training at Chimney Pond. Several MSAR teams have been assisting BSP by providing coverage on weekends for both the winter and summer seasons. Teams include Lincoln, MDI, Wilderness, and Dirago.
Stewart Guay, Duputy Chief Ranger for BSP, contacted me and we set up the available dates.
Stewart was most helpful and really appreciated the fact our team wanted to come to the park.
3/25 – Friday
After a 2 1/2 hour ride from Farmington we arrived at the BSP head quarters where we had access to the building with a key made available for us. We unloaded and inventoried personal and team gear and repacked for the following morning. We took a last minute shopping trip and headed over to get takeout supper nearby before retiring for the night on the floor of the conference room.
3/26 – Saturday
We met Park Rangers Rob Tice, Mark and Issac at the Abol gravel pit. 3 park snowmobiles were headed in with us and and our gear. Gear was loaded into a large tow sled which Mark pulled with his snow machine. The five of us piled on another transport sled which was pulled by Rob’s snowmobile. The transport into Roaring Brook took a little over an hour and it was sort of like a kid’s amusement park ride. All we need were floppy ears on the front.
Roaring Brook campground was the end of the line for the people transporter. It was 3.3 miles and 1,500 feet of elevation gain to Chimney Pond. Rob, Mark, and Issac took all our gear all the way into Chimney Pond! We had a great walk in and had our first glimpse of the Great Basin when we approached the Basin Ponds. Katahdin loomed large and was wild with wind and clouds dancing off the rocks and snow.
A look at the “snow stick” off the trail on the way in showed 87” of snow.
We got to the crew camp to find all our gear stowed inside and the wood stove was loaded and hot!
After and orientation by Rob, we set out and spent the rest of the day exploring the Saddle Trail winter route. A warm supper and good company with friends topped off a great day.
3/27 – Sunday
The crew cabin was heavily banked with snow on all sides which provided a nice warm camp while the bitter winds whipped all night. The sky was crystal clear Saturday night. Morning brought clear skies which offered the opportunity for us to explore higher up the mountain. Pete, Seb, Barry, Chuck, and I had a quick breakfast before speaking with Ranger’s Rob and Mark who were shuttling in timbers on snowmobiles. We took Rob’s advice and explored the Cathedral winter trailhead by bushwhacking off the Saddle due to likely high avalanche area where the Cathedral summer trail normal tracks.
We returned back to camp in time to pack up, clean up, and load up. All our gear was loaded in the snowmachines for the trip out leaving us a light snowshoe out. Barry and I brought our plastic sleds for the downhill grades which proved to be a blast! We had the advantage of knowing there were no other people or snowmachines heading into Chimney Pond so we were able to cruise! While the 5 of us were crossing Basin Pond, Barry noticed the start of an avalanche in the North Basin behind us. He yelled out to the rest of us and we were lucky enough to see a huge avalanche over a mile away. I was lucky enough to get my camera out in time for some pictures.
We were shuttled out from Roaring Brook and back to the gravel pit by 4 pm where we parted ways with Rob and Mark.
Overall the experience was positive and certainly left us all wanting to come back with more team members and more SAR training ideas. Spending time with Seb, Barry, Chuck, and Pete was a lot of fun, especially in a more relaxed setting and not in the more intense scene of a search or rescue operation.
We hope to be back next winter with more members. More immediate however is the possibility of covering a weekend or two this summer. Stay tuned for more information to follow.