September 23, 2011

Mock Search & Rescue Event, Oct. 8

Mock Search & Rescue Event

Saturday October 8,  4:30 p.m.- approximately midnight

Each year, FSAR is invited to participate in a large scenario training sponsored by Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA) and Northstar Ambulance. The primary purpose of the event is to provide a realistic wilderness ‘mass casualty’ situation for the annual NorthStar WEMT class. The evening event usually involves multiple human participants with mock injuries. This is also a wonderful opportunity for many agencies to cross-train with each other. This year’s drill will likely include: EMS and SAR, the Maine Warden Service, local fire departments and untrained volunteers may be involved. 

For FSAR team members, the event will begin at the Kingfield FD where we will load gear and carpool to Lexington. Following a dinner at the staging area the scenario will begin and is generally over, including a debriefing, before midnight. 

This is an outstanding opportunity to participate in a realistic training, with supportive instructors and many of the same team members we work with on a ‘real’ rescue. 

Please RSVP to Steve Mitman so a dinner count can be provided.

Rescue members watch as WEMT class members work a patient back at the staging area. The 2008 scenario involved a mass causality flash flood water incident.

 The 2009 incident involved lost and injured people with a plane crash thrown in for variety!

September 20, 2011

FSAR member at APU an update

We asked FSAR member Devin to give us an update on how things are going in his program in Alaska....

As a sophomore at Alaska Pacific University, I have been taking classes towards earning a dual-degree in Outdoor Education and Environmental Science. Over the past month, I have earned my Swiftwater Rescue Technician I certification and have been playing in the swift waters of Alaska's coldest rivers. Other classes I have taken since moving to Alaska have been a Wilderness First Responder course, rock and ice climbing courses, as well as a winter wilderness course which gave me an Avalanche I certification. When I'm not in "class", I'm climbing, backpacking, skiing or just enjoying Alaska's beautiful views. I love being a member of FSAR! I can't wait to return to help those in need.

Here is a youtube of Devin's program:

September 18, 2011

8 Tips for Active Search & Rescue Membership

What should SAR members focus on when not on a rescue call?
  1.  Keep your body physically fit so you will be an asset on a call in the back country and not a liability. Could you Hike Bigelow tonight?
  2.  Maintain a ready-pack that will allow you to be self sufficient in the wilderness for a minimum of 24 hours at all times of the year.
  3. Maintain a workable footwear, clothing and outerwear system that will allow you to manage moisture and keep you comfortable in any type of weather at any time of year.
  4.  Stay connected (electronically) with other team members. Could an FSAR officer contact you by text or phone if we had a rescue call right now?
  5. Do your best to attend FSAR meetings & Trainings We meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 6:30, usually at the Kingfield Fire Department. FSAR bylaws state that you should attempt to attend 50% of trainings/meetings.
  6. Pay your yearly dues ($20)
  7. Maintain a current CPR/First Aid certification.
  8. Keep your priorities straight; put your family and job before FSAR.  

September 8, 2011

Next FSAR Meeting Wednesday September 14

The first FSAR meeting of the season will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 14 at the Kingfield Fire Station

FSAR Article in the Daily Bulldog (Farmington)

FSAR article in the Pine State Mountaineer (Kingfield)

Come check us out on Wednesday!

For more information contact team president
Steve Yates 265-2638
or team secretary Steve Mitman 

FSAR Baxter SAR coverage August 26-28

 FSAR is new to providing SAR coverage in Baxter State Park. The weekend of August 26-28 was the 4th time we have been the on call SAR team in the park this year. Due to other commitments, we were only able to field 2 members for this weekend, Chuck and Mit.  Ironically, neither of us has hiked Katahdin before so we were a couple of newbies on the mountain! We figured that it was important to learn the mountain, so our training focused on trail familiarization and hiking. We left Strong at 4:30 a.m. on Friday morning and were on the trail at Roaring Brook just after 9 a.m. Our first stop on the trail was the amazing Chimney Pond. This is a place that should be experienced in person.  
The Cathedral trail that we had elected to ascend was steep almost from the start. It was a wonderful adventure, since we had no real knowledge of what the next pitch held for us, as we picked our way up the steep trail. Chuck does not generally enjoy heights, but he did very well with the considerable number of steep cliffs on the Cathedral Trail. Once at Baxter Peak, we took a short lunch. We have both heard Knife’s Edge stories for years, and Chuck decided that it was ‘now or never’ for an expedition down the Knife to Pamola Peak. We made good time along to South Peak and down the upper Knife’s Edge trail and we were feeling quite confident. I remember thinking to myself “What’s the big deal!?” Once we hit the lower Knife’s Edge trail, things got tough. We were both concentrating hard and psyching ourselves up for each increasingly more difficult and more dramatic section. We passed a pair of soiled underpants lying on the side of the trail which summed up some sections of the lower Knife trail. After we conquered the descent down Chimney Peak and the final ascent up Pamola Peak, we were overwhelmed with psychological exhaustion and a major sense of accomplishment. After a brief celebration with M&Ms, we headed down the Helon Taylor trail frequently breaking out in laughter thinking about what we had just done (survived!). It was an amazing day that I will not forget.  
The following day, Saturday, we were given a SAR assignment by the duty ranger Mike Martin. Hurricane Irene was due to hit the park during mid-morning on Sunday and the (rare) decision was made to close the park to all visitors on Sunday and Monday. We hiked over 11 miles around Katahdin Lake to 3 lean-tos to warn 2 separate groups of park visitors that the storm was on its way and they needed to evacuate. After successfully completing the task, we went back to the bunkhouse for a fine dinner of delicious lamb burgers from the Royce farm.
Sunday morning, the Baxter folks encouraged us to head back to western Maine where the worst of the now tropical storm was forecast to hit. We made good time in the still moderate rain bands of the early storm.
In late fall, Pat will be announcing the Baxter dates for the 2012 season. If you ask any of the 8 FSAR members who were able to participate in this year’s Baxter weekends, I think you will hear that these opportunities are worth the effort.