Volume 3, Issue 10
8 October 1998
and Susan Corban
"That Others May Live..."
Team officer elections are just around the corner. Start talking to members
you would like to see as officers. The nominations end at close of business at
the November business meeting, and elections will take place at the December
business meeting. Let any current officer know who your nominees are. All
nominees will be contacted prior to elections to confirm their willingness to
|Top of the Hill
||by Larry Mervine |
We are also having a CTF (chew the fat) at Elena Gallegos Park, Friday,
October 9th at 6:00 p.m. This is your opportunity to express your opinions
about team certification standard.
Don't forget there are only three months left to certify. Members not certified will not be eligible for missions.
Tip: Cut toe nails before going on a search. It will save some pain and a bloody sock.
See you out there.
Directions to trailhead: From I-40 take exit 175 at Tijeras. If
you were traveling east on I-40, take the right fork of the exit ramp
toward Tijeras. Turn left under the highway overpass and bear right
to Canyon Estates Subdivision. If you were traveling west on I-40 turn
left from the exit ramp. Continue until you reach the 4-way stop at
Tijeras. Turn right and drive under the highway overpass and bear
right to Canyon Estates Subdivision. Follow the road through the
subdivision until you reach the parking lot at the end. There is a $3
|Hike of the Month||CCC to South Peak||0800, Oct 31, 1998|
|Trailhead: Canyon Estates|
|R.T. Distance: 8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6600/9782|
|Hiking Time 4 hours||Hazards: rattlesnakes|
|Topo Maps: Tijeras|
From Trailhead: Follow the South Crest Trail until you reach the
waterfall. Cross the stream and wind up to the top of the waterfall.
Continue on switchbacks, passing the Lower Faulty Trail on your right.
After about 1 1/2 miles from the start you will reach a fork. The
South Crest Trail goes off to the left. Continue right for a few yards
to another fork. The unmarked trail to the left is the CCC Trail.
Upper Faulty is on the right. Take the left. CCC is steep and crosses
a few rocky areas where you need to look for rock cairns. In about 2
miles CCC reaches the South Crest Trail along the crest. Continue to
the right when you reach the Crest Trail. At the back of a large
meadow to the left there is a trail to the top of South Peak. Return
via CCC or, for a longer hike with views of Albuquerque and Tijeras,
and some springs, take the South Crest Trail all the way back to
I thought I'd give everyone an update on what I've been doing since taking on the job a few months ago. There really isn't an awful lot to say but that I've had to get acquainted with how things are done with the team, and had to get "on board." I think I've had the usual early-on frustrations with any job, especially when you start in mid-stride. Mostly what I've been doing is keeping things status quo as much as possible, including writing minutes of the meetings, and keeping track of attendance. Also, I have organized the files in two new file boxes, one for the current year's papers, and one for previous year's. It seemed the least confusing to me.
|Business as Usual
||by Mary Berry
I would like to remind everyone on the team that it is really impossible to
keep track of details without help. In my case, I cannot archive papers that
I do not know need archiving. Also, there are a lot of papers that I know need to be in the archives. However, I do not like to, nor want to, hunt them down. If anyone has papers they know (or think) should be archived, please see to it that you get them to me!
Basically, of course, it all boils down to communicating. Along that line, I would like anyone who reads the minutes of the meetings on the web to please let me know if there are any corrections to be made. We do not "read and approve" the minutes of the meeting, and I have very little feedback. Please let me know! (Please read the minutes!)
I have completed a detailed inventory of our 800 MHz radios, which were loaned to the state of New Mexico for use in SAR. Cibola is responsible for 55 of these radios. Members are assigned one of these radios after their orientation, as a means of communication while on a mission. These have been very valuable for communication between vehicles while traveling to a mission, and between teams in the field when trying to keep 155.160 MHz clear of unnecessary traffic. They have not, however, seen widespread use as a means of communication between teams in the field and base camp.
||by Mike Dugger
There are 5 radios we found to be bad after using them for a while. In addition, We have 7 radios still checked out to members who have left the team, which I am trying to get back. I don't anticipate any problems in most cases. There is one former member who had two radios assigned to him, and lost them both while using them for a non-SAR function. This is clearly unacceptable. These radios were lent to us for use on missions and SAR-related training events. Using these for any sort of personal activity constitutes an abuse of this privilege. DON'T DO IT!
I would also like to encourage our members to obtain other forms of radio
communication as soon as possible. A hand-held radio is a big investment, and may take time to save for, but it is critical. We simply can't rely on being able to talk to base camp on our 800 MHz radios. Even if ICS began using these as a means of communication, the future use of these radios is uncertain. I have heard rumors that the frequencies used by these radios will soon be used in law enforcement, and we may no longer be able to use them. Many members have hand-held radios capable of 155.160 MHz, and some are licensed amateur radio operators. The latter option is the most flexible since, in addition to using 155.160 MHz while on a mission, one may use scores of repeaters throughout the state. This capability is very useful in remote mountain areas where a repeater may be more accessible than a base camp radio. We are considering holding another team class to prepare people for the amateur radio licensing exam, and I encourage everyone without a license to participate.
Finally, if you are not using your 800 MHz radio, you may turn it in to
me so that you are no longer responsible for it. Since they are rarely used on missions, I would like to see our team eventually return them all to the state. There are other frequencies that can be used for communication while on the way to a mission, or for communication between teams in the field.
Your search and rescue pack is your life support system. What it contains, how
it fits, and how much it weighs are all important pack factors. Consider also
convenience, efficiency and necessity when choosing and equipping your
pack. The following covers various aspects of the SAR pack and is based on the
requirement of equipment and clothing necessary for 12 hours in the
field. And, even though this may rarely be the case, the time period may
include staying and possibly sleeping overnight. If you are serious about
search and rescue (as all of us are), this must also be a consideration. I
conclude with some helpful tips gathered over the years.
|Mini Lesson: The SAR Pack
||by David Dixon
I stress that these are my thoughts relative to many backpacking and outdoor
experiences and a year and a half of SAR under my padded belt. Hopefully you
know much of what is here but can otherwise glean some knowledge from this
Choosing a Pack
There are two types of packs, internal and external frame. An internal rides
closer to you and is better for mountain climbing, varying terrain and
off-trail travel. An external is better for long hikes on open, gradual
terrain. An internal moves less due to a snug fit but thus does not allow
air circulation around your back. An external is cooler but may move and even
squeak. A good internal has compression straps which makes the pack more
compact. An external's design makes is easier to tie gear onto but make sure
it is secure and doesn't move around. Small to medium internals often have side
pockets that work well for water bottles but lack other external storage. Most
external packs have side and back pockets that are nice for storing small,
readily accessed gear. Most people start with an external but find need for an
internal for specific activities. I like an external for general backpacking
and an internal for search and rescue.
Make sure your pack fits well and is padded in the waist, back and
shoulders. Good packs have torso length and shoulder strap adjustments. Try
it on loaded with weight before you buy. All of us have some experience with
a pack. When buying a new one consider what has worked for you and what you
want in a pack. Remember, it is your most important item in terms of comfort
so don't buy a cheap one.
A pack with a volume of 2000 to 4000 cu. in. will work best. The pack I carry
most of the time has 2900 which may be large for some and too small for a few
who really like to carry a lot. I have a larger internal that is 5500 cu. in.but
weighs more and is really too large except for winter overnights or carrying
other equipment. A pack weight of 25-30 pounds is comfortably possible for
most of us. Carry 10 or 20 lbs. more and it becomes harder to move well during
searches and you'll be more physically stressed (unless you're in great
shape). If you haven't done any backpacking or carried 45 or more lbs. on a
search you should do so on some short hikes before buying a big pack and
loading it up. Borrow a larger pack from someone before buying one and
realizing you really can't or don't want to ever carry 50 lbs. A pack loaded
with lots of gear for any situation does no good if you can't carry it very
far. Most sources advise carrying no more than 30% of your weight and that is
relative to longer excursions with lots of equipment. Knowing you can carry
more sometimes could be helpful, though. Having a larger pack available may be
a benefit if a subject has been found and large or heavy gear is requested.
You should develop two different pack contents relative to seasonal needs which
I will call Moderate and Winter. (I'll use the term moderate instead of summer
as it is more weather-realistic). The six-month ranges for these given below are
variable and what you carry may be adjusted accordingly. You'll have
transitional needs during fall and spring, warm summer searches at lower
elevations, cold snowshoe searches, etc. Most of the differences in the two are
clothes, so I have included clothing requirements here.
Moderate is from April to September. Daytime temperatures may be hot or cool
and nights range from warm to cold but above freezing at higher
elevations. Rain is always a consideration. Freak snow may be encountered in
early spring. Your Moderate Pack would include all essentials plus
clothes. This would be a non-cotton inner top and bottom. (Throw in a few
T-shirts in warm weather). The middle layer is an insulating top such as
fleece, polypro or wool and bottoms of BDUs or fleece. Outer layer is
waterproof/breathable rain gear top and bottom. You could include a light down
jacket or vest for maximum protection if you get cold even in moderate
temperatures. Also have a hat and light gloves.
This is approximately October to March. Winter conditions expected anytime
including cold days and below freezing nights. Snow may be falling or on
the ground. Remember that you can hike during a winter day some places in New
Mexico wearing spring clothing. During the night, though, the temperature will
drop while you probably are not on the move, and conditions and necessary clothing
dramatically change. Clothing for cold includes all moderate items above plus
another first layer preferably heavy or expedition weight, a heavier middle
layer and a stocking cap and warm gloves. The down jacket is also now a
We've all seen gear lists. [Editor's note - CSAR has a minimum gear list
in the Member Guide and on the website] I have tried to further revise and include some
specific items I think are important. Clothing is listed separately.
List 1: Essential Gear
| a quality headlamp plus a second light source
|| pack cover|
| preferably another headlamp|| ruler or straight edge|
| batteries for both light sources for 12 hours||spare
| a quality orienteering compass plus a decent second||trail tape|
|signaling mirror|| sunscreen|
| rain gear (breathable top and bottom is best) or poncho
||toilet paper (in ziploc of course)|
| knife or multi-tool|| general fixit kit (see Tips section)|
|first aid kit|| sunglasses|
| matches/fire starter/candle|| garbage bags|
| map|| bandana|
| small rope|| hat|
| watch ||binocular or monocular|
| leather gloves|| chapstick|
| tarp or space blanket|| personal items: toiletries, medications, glasses|
| pencil/small notebook|| water for 12 hours, usually 3 liters and water purification tablets|
| GPS (including manual)|| food for 12 hours|
Food Ideas MREs work well, especially when Cibola will buy some for you. Some other suggestions if you're not
into those are jerky, dried fruit, nuts, tortillas, peanut butter, cheese, packaged sausage, power bars, hard candy,
canned chicken or tuna, and if you have a stove, noodle mixes, instant rice, many hot possibilities.
List 2: Other recommended gear
These are seasonal or other items available to take in the field when necessary or to
have when returning. Prioritize items you still need to purchase (GPS, climbing helmet, radio) over what you'll rarely use (bivy,
| additional food and water|| water purifier|
| radio, spare battery || small plastic trowel|
| sleeping pad: foam, thermarest ||crampons|
| sleeping bag: light, heavy ||small stove|
| bivy or small tent ||cook kit|
| small plastic trowel ||climbing helmet|
| signal flares ||carabiners|
| strobe light ||climbing harness|
| small saw (for clearing trail) ||snowshoes|
| spare pair of shoes ||warm food: soups, coffee (if a stove is available)|
| additional maps |
List 3: Clothing. Listed by season and layer, and including what is worn.
| Moderate ||Winter |
| Inner: Non-cotton top and bottom. T-shirts in summer|| Inner: Non-cotton top and bottom preferably heavy weight plus an additional light top.|
| Middle: Insulating top of fleece, polypro or wool. Long sleeve
cotton shirt. ||Middle: Insulating top of fleece, polypro or
| Outer: Rain gear, additional layer of fleece or down if needed for
cold temperatures.|| Outer: Rain gear, additional
layer of heavy fleece or wool or, preferably, a down jacket.|
| Miscellaneous: 2 pair of inner and outer socks, leather gloves,
light insulating gloves, brimmed hat, belt. || Miscellaneous:
2 pair of inner and outer socks, leather gloves, heavy insulating gloves,brimmed hat, stocking hat, belt.|
Boots are the last contact between you and the ground. All leather, Gore-tex
lined or waterproofed hiking boots are best for our purposes. Boots with some nylon may
breathe well but are not as waterproof nor as protective from cactus and other
penetrables as all-leather. These can be worn year-round. Even in winter
snow this type of boot is usually best. Stay away from heavy winter hunting
boots or low-cut, heavy-soled running shoes that don't offer support. If you
are using snowshoes pac-boots may seem better, but your regular boots often
work just as well and offer more support. Always wear a
light pair of non-cotton socks in addition to your heavy outer wool or blend
socks. The combination will help control blisters.
You must make the decision whether you want to pack more for
an expected overnight. The later you go out on a search, the higher the
possibility that you'll be out overnight. You probably won't spend more than
one night out on a search, but anything can happen. If you are not searching you're
probably with a subject or have decided to bed down. The gear you carry for
this is relative to the time of year, location and elevation. In New Mexico at
higher elevations, you need, at a
minimum, something under you, something around you and sufficient
clothing to be comfortable overnight. There are various combinations to consider for the two seasons that
you would add to your basic pack.
The minimum under you should be a tarp or space blanket, with a
light pad or thermarest being even better. It would be best to include a sleeping bag with your
pad. In rainy conditions a tent or bivy would keep you comfortable. (There are
also specialized space blankets or plastic tubes that function as
tents.) Whatever you use should be waterproof and able to protect you from
runoff and leaks. Remember, though, that weight goes up as things get more
comfortable. You have to carry your comfort. A waterproof tarp under and over
you, plus the lightest pad and all or most of your clothing should allow
you a decent night's sleep in moderate temperatures, especially if you are
exhausted. Use your pack or stuff a bag for a pillow and don't wear sweat-soaked clothes to bed. Remember that sufficient clothing for the season's
nighttime temperatures is standard for search and rescue.
For temperatures at or below freezing and possibly snow on the ground, you
need a pad and a warm sleeping bag. A bivy is recommended for a good night's
without rain that isn't as much of a necessity. A good pad, bag and bivy is
heavy . And, a stove and warm food would be great to have on a cold
night. Obviously, a winter overnight makes weight more of a consideration.
Loading and Wearing your Pack
If your pack has outside pockets or a large pocket in the top, use those for
water and smaller essentials. Vertical pockets on the side will keep your
bottles from leaking. In the main compartment, pack heavier gear near your back
with least used items like a first aid kit or tarp at the bottom with food,
rain gear and other readily needed items at the top. Your pack should ride high
on your hips to help support the weight. Make adjustments if necessary. If
your pack has compression straps, cinch them down to confine the contents to a
smaller bundle. Keep your pack fairly tight to your back but not too
constrictive at your arms or shoulders. When carrying your pack, periodically lift
it off your shoulders at the bottom with your hands. It will briefly help
relieve the pressure.
During a search you can't stop constantly to retrieve needed items out of
your pack. A small chest or waist pocket that can hold your notebook, pencil,
compass, mirror, whistle and other essentials is very helpful. A radio holster
is also convenient since a radio needs to be accessible but is too heavy for
your pants and you can't carry it in your hand. You can also get a remote
clip-on microphone that will make operation even easier.
Water may be your most important provision, and the state requirement of 2
quarts is probably not enough for 12 hours of walking. Hydrating while on
the go is very efficient. A small water bottle holder on your pack or belt
works well, or try the new collapsible water bottles with a hose and bite
valve. Attach the hose to the top of your pack and you can search and suck!
You may find yourself going through your water faster, but you will be more
likely to stay well hydrated -- sort of a
positive problem. So if you can carry a little more weight, water should be your first
consideration. Plan on taking at least 3 quarts, and don't forget purification
tablets or a water purifier.(although each requires a water source to
Organizing Your Stuff
You should always have your Essential Seasonal Pack ready to go and clothes
you wear ready to put on. In addition, have another medium or large duffel bag that holds everything else. That would include extra food
and water, boots or spare shoes, spare clothes and gear. At base camp you'll
have time to quickly get your pack ready before a search and that will be easy
with everything readily available.
Pack and Track Tips
- Pack everything possible into ziploc bags. They're waterproof, strong (use freezer bags) and stay together even if stuffed. Gear is visible and easier to find and pack.
- Even with ziplocs it won't take long to realize you also need a pack cover for added protection in heavy rain. A garbage bag works but a cover designed for your size pack is quicker and easier.
- Always wear something orange and visible during a search. A hat or shirt is the obvious but you could also bring a light, cheap orange hunter's vest to put on over your top. Your ability to be seen is crucial and wearing natural colors is, well, unnatural for us.
- When was the last time you replenished your first aid kit? Think about adding any of the following: moleskin, snake bite kit, eye care kit, second skin, razor blades, chapstick, small soap, sanitary napkins (make great absorbent bandages).
- If you don't already, think about carrying a small pair of binoculars or even lighter monocular. Weight is always a factor but they could be valuable during a search.
- Speaking of carrying too much, take time to go through everything in your pack and toss some items you have never used, or replace with something lighter or smaller. If you want further help in reducing your pack weight check out www.backpacking.net on the web.
- If you wear reading glasses make sure you always carry a pair (or 2). Not being able to read maps or your GPS would be a problem.
- If you want or need to take a stove, go for the lighter models with a small gas mix canister. This is the lightest option when you only need a day of use. Check Coleman and Gaz, they both make great models that boil fast.
- Decent climbing helmets are not expensive and could save your life. They should always be worn when working around heights. When buying used climbing equipment make sure you know its previous use and inspect it well.
- Always keep a few bandanas stuffed into your pack. They are great for wiping away sweat, cooling off and lots more. Choose a bright color and it can be used for marking or signaling.
- If you don't have breathable rain gear at some point you'll find yourself soaked inside as well as out. Gore-tex is considered the best but there are many decent clones on the market now that work well and cost less. Check Cabela's or other outdoor sources for sets as cheap as $100. If you're used to a clammy plastic poncho you'll be amazed at the difference.
- Always carry an extra first-layer shirt. T-shirts in the heat and polypro
in the winter will both get sweat-soaked after a good hike and changing into
a dry one will help prevent hypothermia, as well as feel better. In the
winter, hike in your lighter top and put on the heavy one when you stop. Always change out of a sweaty top when the sun goes down, even in the summer.
- A small piece of thin, closed-cell foam could provide just enough comfort and insulation for a decent night's sleep. A rectangle as small as 15"x30" weighs just a few ounces and pads the important upper body from hips to shoulders. A small square also works great as a butt protector while sitting.
- Remember to give a quick look around before leaving your break spot, especially if you took your pack off and opened it. You don't want to go back for something left behind, and you probably wouldn't find it anyway. This is especially true at night.
- Always carry an extra compass. It is one of your most valuable essentials.
- Whistles also are necessary, cheap and light. Carry 2.
- Look back periodically especially when you are traveling off trail. It will help familiarize you to the terrain in all directions and keep you on track if you come back the same way.
- On a night search remember to bring items you'll need if you're out until morning: sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, T-shirt, etc.
- Dryer lint makes great fire tinder. A handful stuffed into a film canister weighs nothing.
- No matter how many times you go through and organize your pack, do you find yourself at base camp ready to go in the field and realize you forgot extra water or that new pair of gloves? Keep a list of items that you want to take always handy so that before you drive away you can quickly go through it and make sure you have everything. Keep another list of To Do and To Buy.
- Use the folded edge of a map as a straight edge to draw a straight line.
- Put together a general fixit kit of rubber bands, few meters of duct tape, some strong wire, safety pins, razor blade, needle and fishing line, aluminum foil, etc.
- Gaiters may be hot, especially in summer, but they keep nature out of your boots and protect your legs from cactus and other irritables.
- Keep a grease pencil with your note pad. They write on anything and always work.
- Make sure you have at least 4 extra batteries in addition to other minimum battery needs. You might be a light saver to a battery-less searcher.
- Carry a small sack or pouch that can hold all the extra small stuff: lighter, candle, extra whistle and mirror, batteries, fixit kit, etc.
- Don't forget to throw in some straps of various lengths to tie things onto your pack.
- Keep a pair of tennis or other shoes in your duffel bag to change into after a search. Your feet will appreciate the comfort on the ride home.
The editors have met and exchanged email a few times since the last issue and have decided on a better plan for filling the newsletter with interesting information than just saying "Hey folks, write something and give it to us, then we'll print it." We've drafted up a list of topics, and will be soliciting writers for those topics for specified issues of the newsletter. Here's what we've got planned so far:
||by Tom Russo
|October||Tips for Parents||The SAR Pack||Susan Corban|
|November||Hypothermia||Fire Starting Techniques||Rick Goodman|
Other topics we've discussed having articles written about are:
Wild food for wilderness survival
Seasonal weather, altitude effects, and clothing choices
Snakes and snakebites
Insects and insect bites
Assorted self-help first aid techniques
We've already got the authors lined up for October and November, and will be filling in the table for December and January very soon. If you have interest in writing on any of the other topics, let us know and we'll ask you to do it for a specific issue of the newsletter. We'll try to give you a couple of months lead time on it so we don't have to send out our Enforcer, "Sarge," to collect the finished product the day it's due.
Most of the changes in the website have been invisible this month; the software underlying all of the database functions has been subtly changing for a few reasons, most notably because the old software didn't always take care of dates in a Y2K compliant manner. But there are a few visible changes in the database access pages. The Member Database now keeps track of who is a prospective member, and these people appear with a "(P)" before their names in the callout list. If you're a phone tree top, or have another reason to call a member with a "(P)" before his or her name for a mission, please remember that that person is required to attend missions with an active member, and try to help them hook up with such a member if they need it. Another change is in the "New Mission Logs Database," where it is now possible to keep track of who attended what mission at the same time that a mission log is generated. This data can be used in a variety of reports that I haven't written yet, but there is one such report: a table of mission attendance over the last 6 months.
I'm also planning to implement a training log database along the same lines as the mission log database. In this way the Membership officer will be able to keep on top of the 2-training-per-6-month requirements for mission status. In the same vein, I'm planning a certification database to help the MO and TO (and of course the Secretary) keep those records in an easily retrieved, quickly summarized format. This stuff takes time and effort, of course, and might not be ready to be deployed before the end of the year.
ESCAPE '99 will be held at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, NM, on 21-23 May.
The people down there have gone to great lengths to woo us to their humble
dwelling. I really think everyone will like this site, from the
air-conditioned classrooms to the animal-friendly environment. So, mark
your calendars now for this event. (I am now looking for instructors, so
if you are an "expert" in an area then let me know!)
||by Nancy O'Neill
Helicopter Training: We still do not have a firm date on this, the "fuzzy"
date for this event is "sometime in November"; Mickey is coordinating this
Winter Skills Training: We are not holding a winter skills training this
year due to the lack of interest last year. We are planning to hold this
training every other year, unless the membership wants it otherwise.
Secretary of NMESC: We will be saying "goodbye" to Brian Holcomb November
1st. Brian is moving back to Oregon. He took over as secretary, very
graciously, I might add, when the slot became vacant right after ESCAPE
'98. We in the SAR community will miss him, but we wish him well in
Thank you to everyone who attended the
"Mock-Search-That-Wasn't-a-Mock-Search." The unofficial quote of the
number of people in the field is 106. More information on that when it
becomes solid facts.
As a parent, your best strategy to protect your child in the wilds is to set a good example. The clothes you wear, your planning and preparation, awareness of your environment, safety precautions, and respect for limits (yours and others'), all will demonstrate appropriate choices to your child. It is also important to discuss behaviors with your child and then practice to reinforce their knowledge. Your child will gain confidence, be better prepared for an emergency, and can try some problem-solving in a safe environment.
|Tips for Parents in the Outdoors
||by Susan Corban
RULES IN THE OUTDOORS
Parents tend to tell their kids "don't go too far." While the intent is clear, the message isn't functional. Defining boundaries for children with concrete landmarks will work better. Try telling children that it's ok to explore between "that big rock, this tree, and the edge of the parking lot," or similar clearly identifiable objects. Take a walk with the child along the boundary of the approved area to make the area "real." This strategy works well for camping and picnics where your attention may be away from the children periodically. Also, be sure to clarify who's watching the kids at any given time.
Stay With Others
Teach children to be aware of where they are in relation to others. Set the rule that children must stay with the group, not wander off or run ahead. They should know to stay where they can always see someone else, an adult specifically. And remember to model this behavior yourself, especially when children are present.
Stay on the Trail
Hiking should always be ON the trail for children. While hiking, children should hike between two adults, never up ahead and never at the end of a group. If the children run up ahead they might miss a turn in the trail and end up in the wrong place while those behind them assume they're still just up ahead.
GEAR TO PACK
Clothing isn't always purchased with the wilderness in mind. When you buy children's jackets, buy brightly colored jackets with hoods and many pockets. Children should always have a jacket packed, even in summer. When it rains, a child falls in a stream, or after nightfall, children will get cold. Hypothermia (lowered body temperature) occurs easily in the summer. It's easy to forget that the mountains are cooler when the city is hot. A jacket can easily be belted around a child or stuffed into a fanny pack or backpack. Again, model this behavior yourself.
Every child should carry their own emergency pack. A small pouch or plastic bag should contain all of the following items. Teach children what to do with their gear.
- Jacket Carry one even in the summer with pockets and hood for warmth
and to staff food and the other gear.
- Food is essential. Pack snack bars that are sealed. Sealed snacks
don't emit odors that attract bears.
- Whistle (can be attached to clothing) Yelling is exhausting and
can't be heard at a distance. Train a child to blow 3 short bursts.
- Reflector Use foil or an old CD, not a breakable mirror. This will
keep a child occupied in one place and can be used to signal.
- Colored Strips of Plastic - Markers tied to branches alert searchers to
the child's location. Use orange garbage bags, kite plastic in
strips, anything bright. Colored tape is readily available.
- Large Garbage Bag This can serve as a small tent in bad weather with
a face slit. Use an orange bag if possible. Protection from rain
can be a lifesaver.
WHAT TO DO IF ...
The first thing a child should know -even if they forget everything else-- is to STOP and STAY in one place as soon as they realize they are alone, lost or separated. Their chances of being located right away are much better the sooner they stop. You would hardly believe how far they've been known to wander.
Fear of Strangers
Let children know that if they are lost, strangers will be looking for them. Hiding from strangers or dogs is not a good idea in this special circumstance. Search dogs will always wear special vests. Searchers may or may not be in uniform. You can tell a child that if strangers know a lost child's name it's because Mommy or Daddy asked them to help.
If nightfall arrives and a child is still lost, warmth becomes essential. Teach children to make a bed of branches, leaves and brush to stay off the cold ground. Keep warm by putting on all clothing, hats, and gloves. Staying dry is crucial. So staying away from water is a good guidline. If children are together they should cuddle for warmth. It is important to make a bed as close to the place where the child stoppped as possible. Practice making a bed of natural materials while camping.
Children can drink water from the leaves of plants if they get thirsty. It's better than falling into a stream and getting wet and cold.
Make a footprint of your child's shoe. This could help searchers if your child ever became lost. Take a piece of aluminum foil on a soft spot. Have the child stand on one leg to weight the imprint of their shoe in the foil. Label with the child's name and date. Put this in your car's glove box or visor. Remember to make a new print with new shoes. Even if the child has on different shoes, the size of the print will provide information to searchers.
WHO DO YOU CONTACT?
If you practice with your children, follow these guidelines and model good behavior, your children will most likely be safe. If you ever find that your child has become lost, don't panic. Contact New Mexico State Police immediately at 505-841-9256. Report who is lost, the last known location, the clothing and supplies the child had, age, any medical information, a secret word for a child, and shoe type and size. And stay available for the Field Coordinator to contact you.
The information in this newsletter was gathered from many sources and presents facts as we believe them to be true. This newsletter is not meant to be an official document, but a means to disseminate team information.