Top of the Hill|
Boots and Blisters|
Who's Who and New
On the Right Track
Business as Usual|
|Top of the Hill||by Mike Dugger|
At the start of 1997, the New Mexico search and rescue field certification process was just getting ramped up, and I had hoped to have 90% of our active members certified by the end of the year. We made this certification a requirement for field assignment for active members effective December 31, 1997. I am happy to report that 94% of our active members are now certified. We also wanted to increase the number of licensed amateur radio operators on the team, and we almost doubled it, from 8 to 15. I had hoped to replace our outdated system of qualification codes this year too. Qualification codes have not been revisited as of this writing, but we have put in place a new training standard based on field qualification in skills that we use frequently on missions. This standard should allow us to greatly simplify the qualification code system, to identify people with special skills. We have trained on the use of our low angle gear, and I feel that the dozen or so members who participated in this training have a good grasp of how this equipment is used. We have a way to go before I would say that the team is generally proficient with the gear. However, we have worked on our litter packaging and hauling techniques several times, and I think we are all more proficient in this area than when we started the year. Finally, another goal was to create modules for SAR education as part of our preventative SAR, or "PSAR" program. A flexible presentation format has been created, targeting young adults, middle school kids, and people unfamiliar with SAR. This has been used in several presentations already, and appears to be very effective.
Although not explicitly stated as goals in January, there have been several other significant accomplishments during the year. We developed a list of minimum required gear and clothing, based on the state certification requirements, so that new members to CSAR know what minimum equipment they need and can prioritize those extra items that come in handy. Speaking of gear, our public relations officer lead a thorough analysis of some popular GPS receivers, documented their findings in a report, and negotiated a deal for us to acquire GPS receivers at a discount. Where they were once uncommon, there are now many GPS receivers on the team, allowing us to give coordinates of clues or our teams to incident command staff when requested. As mentioned above, we have adopted a training standard, which describes what skills we expect all field responders to possess, and how we determine that they have those skills. We have established a gear cache on the east side of the Sandia Mountains, and a gear deployment procedure to make sure the gear gets to every mission that CSAR is called for. The introduction and evaluation process for new members has been greatly improved by our membership officer, so that all candidates know exactly what is expected of them and their progress toward voting member status is made measurable. Finally, we have detailed the responsibilities of all officers and committee chairpeople required to keep the team running at its present level. This has yet to be accepted as policy, but at least the candidates for next year's administration have some idea of what is required to do the job.
These accomplishments were the product of a lot of hard work by many of our members, in addition to the team's elected representatives. I firmly believe that these actions will continue to improve our team by allowing us to field more skilled volunteers, provide a higher level of service to Incident Command, and directly benefit the subject. Everyone who helped make these accomplishments possible deserves a pat on the back. You have made a significant contribution to the continued success of CSAR.
|Boots and Blisters||by Larry Mervine|
Our next training will be provided by Jim "J.D." Martin on Saturday,
November 15, at 9:00 am at St. Chad's, on the topic of tracking. We
will have a classroom session, followed by some practical experience
|Hike of the Month||Three-Gun Springs to South Sandia Peak||0800, Nov 29/30, 1997|
|Trailhead: Three-Gun Springs. Old 66 East to Monticello Rd., north to Alegre, west to Siempre Verde, north to Tres Pistolas, north to trailhead.|
|R.T. Distance: 12 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6400/9700|
|Hiking Time 6.0 hours||Hazards: The Usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
|Business as Usual||by John Mindock|
|Mini Lesson||by John Mindock|
SAR personnel are expected to perform their duties in a variety of weather conditions and terrain/flora situations. The clothing they bring with them can enhance their safety and comfort, permitting them to remain in the elements for extended periods of time. With a proper choice of clothing for the situation, the SAR person can concentrate on his primary duties for the mission. This mini-lesson details some of the underlying concepts behind the choice of apparel.
Note - many missions do not challenge the SAR person's clothing choices, so it's not unusual for individuals to come through unscathed while wearing shorts, T-shirts, lightweight shoes, etc. This article is written with the tougher missions in mind.
Purposes of SAR Clothing
One duty of the clothing is to protect the SAR person from injury caused by external conditions. A second, and arguably the most important, is the ability to control body temperature. This paper will detail the first aspect, and a subsequent lesson will delve into the second.
Steep, rough, rocky trails require rugged footwear. Ankle sprains, abrasion injuries, and foot fatigue are consequences of less-than-adequate boots. Neither standard tennis shoes nor the popular canvas-sided high-top hiking shoes are up to the job. Sturdy leather boots are the only variety of footwear that can handle the rigors of SAR. Strong support for the ankle and a steel shank for the inner sole are proven assets in the field. In addition, leather upper panels help protect ankles from hazards that are encountered along the trail.
Inside the boots, it is imperative to avoid blisters, particularly near the back of the heel. The proven method is to wear two pair of socks. The inner pair is thin and slippery, usually polypro or a related synthetic, while the outer pair is a thick synthetic material specifically designed for hiking. These two layers slide on each other, mitigating friction between the boot and the skin of the foot. The outer layer also provides some padding for the pounding that occurs on the long hikes under heavy pack.
Wool socks are a popular choice as the outer layer, but they have a tendency to bunch up when wet, causing friction that may lead to blisters. Pre-hike application of coach's tape or moleskin to the heel area is an excellent idea.
Thorns, branches, cacti, abrasive rocks, and itchy weeds are common in SAR environments. Sturdy outer pants are essential to get through these hazards unharmed. The de facto choice of CSAR veterans are the mid-weight cotton/poly blend military BDU's. Cotton blue jeans would also serve the purpose, but they have temperature-control disadvantages that exclude them from the SAR wardrobe.
Gaiters not only protect from dew, etc., but can help alleviate damage from trail hazards. In addition, they can keep sand, dirt, and stickers from working their way into your boots or clogging up your laces.
Although many mountaineers wear shorts, they are not suitable for the rigors we might face, such as bushwhacking off-trail through heavy growth. In addition to the hazards mentioned above, you can add sunburn and insect stings in association with shorts.
The same sorts of things that assault your legs also attack your torso. A durable long-sleeved shirt is the only solution that is not an invitation to battle scars. Many CSAR members choose the orange cotton/poly blend work shirts for this purpose.
For reasons similar to those mentioned in the above sentences about shorts, a short-sleeved shirt is not recommended for SAR clothing. In warm weather, the long-sleeved cotton/poly blend shirt is often more comfortable than a cotton T-shirt because it tends not to be quite as clammy or clingy.
A standard baseball cap can help keep branches, needles, dirt, etc. off your head, as well as protect your face from sunburn. But a rock-climbing helmet is prudent whenever there is danger of falling rock, slapping branches, or head-high cholla. A bandanna covering the back of the neck will protect that exposed flesh from sunburn or chilling winds.
Leather gloves are requisite when handling the litter or ropes. In addition, you should wear them in areas that have substantial amounts of lava rock, thorns, cacti, etc.
Always wear rubber gloves anytime there is a chance of contacting pathogens. Although the flimsy ones used in hospitals sometimes suffice, they are prone to getting torn in the wilderness. It is acceptable to wear two pair of those, but a better choice is the hardy type used for dishwashing.
UV-blocking sunglasses with side protectors are the safest for your eyes in most conditions, both for glare and windblown dust/pollen. In blizzard conditions, ski goggles (anti-fog variety) can allow you to continue the mission where ordinary sunglasses fail. Sunglasses with dark lenses can do a lot to protect from snow blindness on bright winter days. A neckstrap to ensure that the glasses remain with you is a sound idea.
The orange shirts worn by CSAR serve more than the safety provisions detailed above. They also make the searcher more visible in forested situations. On a number of occasions, personnel from Incident Command and air resources have complimented the team on this increased visibility.
Self-Quiz on SAR Clothing - PART 1
|Who's Who and New||by Bob Ulibarri|
The officers will be reviewing members' statistics as we come upon the end of the year. We only have one training left for 1997. Those of you who are unsure or know that you have not attended two trainings in the last six months consider this as your notice that we are coming up on our review period. Please make every effort to get your trainings done as soon as possible. If you have not attended two trainings in the past six months you will not be called for missions until you complete two trainings.
|Coming Attractions||by Tom Russo|
|Public Relations||by Mickey Jojola|
|On the Right Track||by The Wayside|
|Member Spotlight: Terry Hardin|
My father and mother (originally from the Ozark hills of Southern Missouri) were outdoors people so I spent many weekends tromping through the woods in Northern New Mexico next to the continental divide near Cuba and in South Central Colorado. Since then, I have always had a heart for the mountains and the wilderness.
I started rafting as a young kid in the late 1960's up on the Canjos River in Southern Colorado. In 1986 I joined the rafting company 'White Water Adventures'. This company is very unique; it is a Christian Rafting Ministry. We have a lot of fun taking people down the river while teaching them things that you learn from the river that you can apply to every day life. I quickly became a guide and later was certified by Rescue 3 as a 'Swift Water Rescue Technician I & II'. White Water Adventures grew over the years to become the second largest rafting company in New Mexico. After a 'staff only' run of 'The Box' at the peak run off of the season in 1995 (a very high water run off year), my wife is not as big of a fan of dangerous high water rafting as I am. We estimated the waves in the lower end of The Box to be some where from 15 to 20 feet high. I have also enjoyed many other rivers in Colorado (such as the Royal Gorge on the Arkansas River), rivers in Oregon, and rivers in Washington state.
I have always enjoyed the mountains. Over the years I have done a lot of hiking and backpacking. I have either hiked or backpacked into most of New Mexico's wildernesses. At one time, I lead small Christian singles' groups in backpacking adventures into the Jamez and the Pecos backcountry. I also enjoy mountain climbing and have been to the top of most of New Mexico's higher peaks, as well as a few in Colorado.
A friend of mine by the name of Allyn Anderson has been involved with SAR for many years. He would tell me about his work in SAR. Since I had a heart for the outdoors and a heart to help people (due to my Christian background), I would tell him that I wanted to get involved with SAR as soon as things slow down in my life. It happened. Things slowed down in the spring of 1991 when I tore out my knee. After having the knee rebuilt in surgery (with screws and all), I attended the State SAR Conference in Philmont. I meet Bruce Berry there and soon after that I became a member of Cibola Search and Rescue. Later in the summer of 1993 I married Melissa and then I took one year off from SAR work. In the summer of 1994 I was back again hiking down the trails for Cibola SAR.
I seem to keep too busy all of the time. There is never enough time in the day for work and hobbies. I have too many hobbies that I like to get involved with besides SAR. The hobbies range from high performance sports cars, to computers, to some unique but interesting ones such as researching the history, beliefs, and doctrines of different religious and cult groups and researching the scientific aspects of Evolutionism vs Creation Science.
I hope that this information about me helps you get to know me a little better and hopefully in the future I will get to know each of you better while on a training exercise or on a search. See you on the trail!
|Web News||by Tom Russo|
I have also developed a rudimentary mailing list facility for the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing address which I plan to make available soon. It will forward any mail coded with a special keyword in the subject line to all CSAR members if and only if the sender is also a CSAR member --- nobody outside the team could use it. If you do not want your email address to be included in this list let me know.
|NMESC Notes||by Mickey Jojola|
|Feature Articles||by John Mindock|
Mission numbers are composed of three two-digit numbers (year, district, and sequence). The `district' portion can be one of the thirteen State Police (SP) Districts, or can be "00" or "20". An example of a mission number is "97-05-23", the 23rd mission in SP District 05 during calendar year 1997. Common districts for CSAR are "05 - Albuquerque area", "01 - Santa Fe area", "11 - Socorro and west", and "06 - Grants/Gallup area".
The three basic categories of events for which a state mission number may be assigned are as follows.
Because you may get marooned in a blizzard where driving conditions deteriorate to impassable, your vehicle should contain enough of everything for 48 hours of confinement. As always, it is best to travel in a car caravan to remote missions. We generally meet at the Flying J on nine-mile hill (exit 153) for Grants/Gallup missions, the Los Lunas Diamond Shamrock (exit 203) for missions where we travel US 60 out of Socorro, and at the Bernallilo exit and/or the Triangle on north 14 for missions going north on I-25.
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