August 26, 2012

FSAR Requested To Respond

6:40 P.M. Sunday Aug. 26

Eustis Fire has requested that FSAR respond to assist in the rescue of 2 - 18 Y.O. hikers who are on the Fire Warden's trail on Bigelow Mtn. The 2 patients are reported to be nauseous and fatigued. Staging is at the intersection of Rt. 27 and the Stratton Brook Pond Road.
According to radio traffic, the EMS Hasty Team has just left the trail head and in not expected to make patient contact for at least an hour (7:40 p.m.) 

Currently in route or on scene From FSAR:

Chuck R.
Steve Y.

Post Rescue Update: Aug. 28

Franklin Search and Rescue in conjunction with the Maine Warden Service, Eustis Fire, Carabassette Fire, 
Kingfield Fire, and New Portland Fire assisted two hikers in the Bigelow Range.

The two hikers, age 18, part of a Massachusetts University trip became seriously dehydrated, nauseous and 
fatigued during Sunday’s high temperatures. The trip leaders contacted Franklin Co. Sheriff office for 
assistance late Sunday afternoon. Approximately 20 responders staged at the Stratton Brook Pond road.

After a 2.5 hour hike, the hasty team found the two and their trip leader on the Fire Wardens Trail at approximately 3000 
feet slightly below the col between Avery and West Peaks. Once rehydrated, the hikers, one male, one 
female, were able to hike out over a period of 4 to 5 hours. At approximately 2 a.m. both hikers were transported to Franklin 
Memorial Hospital .

August 17, 2012

FSAR at Baxter August 10-12 By: Barry London

Baxter State Park, Chimney Pond Coverage
By:  Barry London

            The FSAR blog for July 11, 2012, was certainly very appropriate for the Chimney Pond coverage this past weekend. Pat Cyr and Barry London traveled to Baxter for weekend coverage, hiking into Chimney Pond Saturday morning. We met thirty-two out bounders, mostly who were ill prepared. The temperature was 60 degrees as we left Roaring Brook campsite (in the forties on the summit Sunday morning), with a steady drizzle, light rain: classic hypothermia weather complete with hikers in cotton clothing.

             Arriving at Chimney one hour and forty-five minutes later (Pat, in shorter time), we were greeted to a socked in mountain with numerous people heading up the steep terrain that we knew was there, but could not see. It was nice to move into the dry crew cabin, allowing us to hang wet gear and to address our body’s demand for hydration and nutrients. The hike in, with numerous rocks and boulders, and deep standing puddles from the 2 ½ inches of rain the mountain had received in the past forty-eight hours, went better than expected, but was quite different from the March 2011 hike with the smooth, snow packed trail of our last visit. We checked in with the ranger (Mark, who was at Trout Brook Farm during last summer’s coverage) and settled in-aka hurry up and wait.
            As there were only two of us (pitch for FSAR members to go to Baxter), we were limited with our own ability to hike but, given what we were seeing, felt it best to hang tight anyway. We watched as families ignored the recommendations of the ranger not to climb the Cathedral Trail, or go across the knife’s edge with the still clouded in, rainy weather with a forecast for showers and thunder showers, others hiking in open-toe sandals, and still others acting as the lemmings, following their leader with no idea where and what they were about to do. Pat and I got out the compasses, the topo maps, and as peaks started to appear, practiced some navigation skills; magnetic to north calculations and vise versa, grid method orientation, and triangulation. Additionally, GPS units came out and we honed skills we unfortunately don’t take or get the opportunity to practice with enough.

            As it turned out, the weather defied the forecast and the peaks started to show mid-afternoon. We met some really interesting people that had hiked and climbed all over the U.S. On Sunday, we stayed until 5PM waiting for the last of the uphill hikers to register back in with the ranger. We made our way back down the trail to Roaring Brook that turned out to be uneventful weekend for injured hikers but still enhanced our knowledge of the park terrain and added experience if and when we are called to climb.

            It was good to get together as team members, share skills and experiences (and beat Pat at cribbage) and to talk about the passion FSAR members share for the outdoors. Assessing my preparation on the hike out, and during the 3 ½ drive home, what would I add/leave out of my pack (it weighed in at 41 pounds) when I go again, and am I prepared physically for the demands of the big mountain.

As a recovering gearhead, it is always difficult to leave things out that I just might “need.” My clothing selection, given the weather was good- I used most articles and would have used the rest if called to rescue/search, and I had enough extra food for the same situation. Except for two tired feet at the end of the hike out, I felt physically competent but recognize the need to increase the cardiovascular activity. Overall, I’d give myself a “B” using my teacher jargon.

            Now back to being prepared. There are numerous places and resources to obtain information (see side bar of this blog) about being prepared for the backcountry, yet many people get introduced and survive on shear ignorance and good luck. It becomes our task to assist these individuals or groups when these experiences become stupidity and back luck. When you inquire about their readiness, some can become quite indignant if you question their intentions, and head off without regard for themselves or those that volunteer to rescue them.

(Barry London is an avid outdoorsman, teacher, outdoor educator, Maine guide, EMT, Ski Patrol and an FSAR Board member.)

August 11, 2012

FSAR Participates in Search in Augusta

Sorry this is the only photo I could get before the battery in my camera died! -Mit

August 10, 2012,  Two FSAR ‘Certified Ground Searchers’ participated in a search for the remains of a 2011 Lewiston homicide victim on Friday in Augusta. Under the leadership of MDISAR member Steve H., Coby and Mit along with about 10 other MASAR searchers, conducted a day-long grid search of a 22 acre piece of urban wildland around the motel 8 in Augusta. The team faced some very dense and difficult terrain during the search. 3 or 4 different varieties of thorn covered plants and shrubs, poison ivy and dense vegetation covering steep, uneven and swampy terrain were searched. BDN article on the case:

August 7, 2012

MASAR Request for Certified Searchers

FSAR members

MASAR has sent a statewide request for ground searchers for a ‘continuation of the search’ for a missing (2011) homicide victim in Lewiston on August 10th.

This request is for ‘Certified Searchers Only.’ This means that only team members who have completed the BASAR class and have met the other MASAR standards are needed for this search. Over the past 18 months, MASAR has had a number of searches that are ‘Certified Searcher Only’ calls. Any time there is a search that involves a criminal investigation, MASAR is likely to request only certified searchers. The skills learned in the certification process help insure that the search will be conducted in a manner that will aid and not hinder the investigation. If an untrained searcher were to unintentionally mishandle evidence during a search, the entire investigation and criminal case could be jeopardized.

The following standards must be met to become a certified searcher:
  1. 1.    Successful completion of the BASAR class.
    2.     Successful completion of the field competency standards
    3.     Current certification in basic first aid or a higher level of emergency medical training
    4.     Passage of an ICS-100 course
    5.     Passage of an IS-700 course
    6.     Current certification in CPR from the Red Cross, American Heart Association, or National Safety Council
    7.     Acceptable aerobic fitness evaluation within the past 6 months
    8.     Letter of recommendation from unit officer or course instructor
All FSAR members have met ‘some’ of the above standards. During our monthly meetings & trainings, we will often train on one of the field competencies (fire building, shelter building, navigation, etc.). Steve Y. keeps the training records with a BASAR checklist for each FSAR member. Contact Steve to see what you already have completed and to update your training record.  

The FSAR board strongly encourages all members to work toward completing the Certified Ground Searcher process.

Although some are very close to completion, of our current 25 active FSAR team members, only 6 currently hold the ‘Certified Searcher’ credential.   If you have any questions, please contact a board member.