Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 3, Issue 12
10 December 1998
Editors: Tom Russo, Mike Dugger,
and Susan Corban

Cibola Search and Rescue
"That Others May Live..."
Top of the Hill Boots and Blisters Who's Who and New
Gearing Up Coming Attractions Mini Lesson
On the Right Track Public Relations NMESC Notes
Feature Article Web News Disclaimer
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Top of the Hill by Larry Mervine
The holiday season is upon us. For Cibola team members it is the time of year to review the past 12 months. We started 1998 with electing five new officers. Unfortunately in April we lost three officers to out of state jobs. And then we lost three more active members. In June the three vacant positions were filled. Three goals were set for remaining portion of the year. First, complete implementation of team standards; second, to vote on the remaining portion of the member guide and; third, to focus on team recruitment. We have accomplished all three goals.

I would also like to take some time here and talk about attitudes on responding to a mission. Our main focus should always be on the subject. We should not have preconceived notions about the mission, from what we are told on voice mail or heard on TV. Nor should we respond based on rumors or propaganda. For example, I've heard members say they won't respond to lost hunter missions out of district five. Instead, we should base our response on the answer to the question "are my skills needed to find the lost subject?" Most out-of-district missions need all the searchers they can get. We have heard people say we are one of the state's top search teams. What good is our training if we do not respond because we are mowing the lawn, watching movie, or attend a party? We are called to missions because bad decisions were made by the subject. We all have at sometime made a bad decision. When we joined search and rescue, were we then saying we were willing to help? I hope next year we see an increase in out-of-district mission attendance.

See you out there. Back to Top
Boots and Blisters by Tom Russo
November's training was an old standard, litter packaging. Kudos go to all the newcomers who attended along with the active members. We got a late start, but covered the basics until the search down in Capitan started up and we had to break apart the gear, toss it into Mike's truck and get it down to the mission.

Applause to Susan Corban and Gene Mortimer, who passed their land navigation evaluation that morning. Each time we hold one of these evalutations we not only verify that our members have the very basic skills we test for, but also improve the process and refine the techniques we use to set the courses out. I would like to thank all those members who have endured a less-than-perfect evaluation course during this first year. I hope that with the information we've gathered this year with your help we can have a smooth evaluation process next year.

Hike of the MonthOak Flat/Juan Tomas Loop0800, Dec 27, 1998\01998
Trailhead: Oak Flat Parking Lot
R.T. Distance: 5-8 milesElevation Min/Max: 7300/7768
Hiking Time 3-4 hoursHazards:
Topo Maps: Escabosa & Sedillo
From Abq., travel east on I-40 to exit 175. Exit to the south-bound ramp to the Tijeras 4-way stop. Go south on 337 (south 14) 9 miles to Oak Flat Road. Turn left. At approximately one mile turn left into the Oak Flat Picnic Area parking lot. Gates are closed for the winter, but the area is well used by x-c skiers, horseback riders, hikers, bikers, etc. From the Oak Flat Picnic Area there are numerous interconnecting trails that go to the Pine Flat Picnic Area, Juan Tomas Road, Cedro Group Campground, Cedro Peak, and private land in the Sedillo area. Depending on the time members have to explore, we'll try a route from the parking area north to the western branch of the Mahogany Trail through Cedro Canyon, across Juan Tomas Rd, north on the Poker Chip Trail and return on the southern segmen of Juan's Trail, back across Juan Tomas Rd. then up and over the ridgeline on the eastern branch of the Mahogany Trail. If there's enough snow, this will be a snowshoe hike.
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Who's Who and New by Mickey Jojola
We have two new members ready for the field as of this month. Lets all welcome Joyce Rumschlag and James Newberry to the roster. Both are eligible for missions when accompanied by an active member. Welcome. It has been a good year for the team and the next year looks even better. I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and a very happy and safe New Year. Back to Top
Gearing Up by Mike Dugger

We knew it was coming...

...and now the time is here. You've probably heard through other channels by now, but the 800 MHz radios lent to us for use on SAR missions have been recalled.

In January 1995, CSAR began recieving radios from a "coordinator" at the state SAR office, who was Jim Coberly at the time. The radios were on loan from OneComm for use in search and rescue missions, training, etc. We recieved a total of 55 radios over the course of several months. The basic deal was that OneComm was setting up infrastructure to provide 800 MHz radio service to regional organizations, and needed to keep the frequencies in use in order to maintain permission to use them from the FCC. I'm not sure what happened to OneComm, but the frequencies have been turned over to another service and we are no longer authorized to use them. The radios will be returned to the state coordinator, now Jim Schwiner, and held until they can be reconfigured and redistributed. If it sounds like this could take a while, you're probably right.

Looking back over the time we have had the radios, they were actually most useful to CSAR for communication during training, and during long drives to and from missions out of district. The 800 MHz radios were never really relied upon during missions. We continue to use the state SAR frequency of 155.160 MHz, and occasionally 2 meter ham repeaters when communication on 155.160 MHz is problematic. It is still useful to have an alternate frequency for training, car caravans, and for missions to avoid clutter on 155.160 MHz. We can be very proud of adhering to our philosophy regarding communication on missions. We generally stay off of 155.160 MHz with tactical details that base camp and other teams don't need to hear. All this does is make it hard to get through with the really important stuff, and wastes everyone's batteries. I'm trying to ensure that we will continue to have an alternate frequency to use for this type of traffic. We have been sharing 155.265 MHz with ACRA under an informal arrangement for a couple of years now. I intend to formalize this arrangement so that we can rely on this frequency for years to come. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a SAR mission, and I encourage all of our members to increase the priority of purchasing a radio if you don't already have one. This is a major gear purchase, but no more so than a good pack, or snowshoes, or a GPS. While you are at it, you might as well get a 2 meter ham-capable radio and become an amateur radio operator. The technician class exam is not terribly difficult, and you have to pass it only once to be a "HAM" for life as long as you keep your license up to date. We'll be offering a class early next calendar year to prepare members to pass the exam. Back to Top
Mini Lesson by Tom Russo and Mike Dugger
Cibola SAR requires every member to carry some sort of fire making materials in his or her pack, and we don't specify what type. Sure, most of us carry some matches, maybe some kind of tinder, and probably one of those magnesium blocks with a flint-and-steel. But when was the last time you tried using your fire starting tools other than matches?

Aware that few of us would be able to start a fire with a couple of sticks and whatever we could scrounge up in a moment of need, we decided to test out some of the techniques we've heard about, seen people attempt, or just thought might work. In addition, we've tried to pull together some thoughts on techniques we've seen people try with no success and which we'd be better off forgetting. Since using matches to start a fire is almost a no-brainer, we'll discuss those techniques last and concentrate for most of this article on what you might do should your matches become unusable (you do store your matches in a waterproof container, don't you?).

The basics
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, there are three requirements for fire: fuel, oxygen and heat. Remove any one of them, or provide it in inadequate quantities, and the fire dies. This balance is most critical when the fire is just starting; the heat generated by your initial fire is small, so your fuel needs to be small and the airflow to it must be good. For all of our test fires we chose a common configuration: we built a small square box out of dry twigs, and built our starter fire inside this (see figure). By constructing the box in this way we put a large quantity of small, easily ignited fuel near the starting fire, and the large gaps between the sticks provided excellent air flow. All that remained was to get the starter fire hot enough to ignite the kindling box.

The Attempts

The first fire we attempted to kindle was meant to be the type of fire you'd make if all you had was a flint, steel and some magnesium shavings, a good sharp knife, and an abundance of dry fuel.

Taking a dry twig, we made a quantity of tiny wood shavings. The intent was that these would be so small that they would catch a spark from the striker and burn well enough to get some more shavings burning, and by building the fire up from this humble beginning we'd get a comfortable blaze. It took a lot of work to get this anywhere, and in fact we probably would have been in trouble had we tried this when we really needed a fire.

For starters, the small pile of shavings didn't catch the spark and start burning; the shavings were too thick and would have needed more heat than a small, hot sliver of magnesium could provide. What was needed was some other tinder to catch the spark and hold it while the wood shavings were slowly added. In short, in trying this we learned that wood shavings make lousy tinder, but with some good tinder the shavings would have been a good step up to larger fuel.

Since time was rapidly slipping away from us, we abandoned the attempt to create a fire with no packed-in gear other than the striker.

As an attempt to salvage the wood shaving idea, we tried using steel wool as tinder. Steel wool makes excellent tinder, as it turns out, catching the spark quickly and burning very hot, very quickly. Unfortunately, our wood shavings were hopelessly scattered in the earlier attempts, and we didn't have enough in one pile to put on top of the hot steel wool before it was consumed. Lesson learned: make sure that you have all of your fire building materials on hand in copious quantities before you start trying to build it! The hot steel wool easily ignited the small amount of wood shavings we had left. Had we made a good pile of wood shavings before striking a spark into the steel wool, the steel wool would have been hot enough to kindle a fire in them, and that would have been a good starting point for kindling larger fuel such as dry twigs. Again, had we been in desperate need of a fire we'd have been in trouble using this technique without having learned that lesson first.

The next attempt was to fill the starter box with dried grass and use a cotton ball to catch the spark from the striker. Initial attempts without the magnesium shavings were unsuccessful, as the cotton did not ignite, but once magnesium shavings were put on the cotton all it took was a few strikes and the cotton caught fire, ignited the grass, and within a minute or two the entire starter box was on fire. The starter box burned hot and would have provided an excellent starting point for larger fuel.

Some of our members carry cotton strips soaked with wax which they intend to use as fire starters. To verify that this works, we modified the last starting arrangements by replacing the plain cotton ball with a strip of wax-coated cotton cloth. We were unable to get the cotton strip to ignite, even with the magnesium shavings; that's probably because you've got to melt the wax before it can ignite, and there wasn't enough heat generated by the spark alone. When the wax-coated strip was replaced with an identical strip of cloth without wax, the fire started easily with magnesium shavings.

The next type of kindling we tried was taken from the lint screen of a clothes drier. The lint caught a spark and ignited even without magnesium, but we found that it was pretty important to tease it apart to get good internal airflow or it would snuff out quickly. But with well-teased fluff, a spark, and a starter box we had a starter fire going in a minute or so (and this, of course, is why one is cautioned to clean the lint screen every time you do the wash!). One thing we noticed was that since the particular batch of fluff we were using was from a load of laundry with mixed cottons and synthetics, there was a tendency for the fluff to melt as it burned, and some of the melting synthetics formed a shell that could have snuffed out the embryonic fire. We concluded that it would probably be best to stick to fluff from all-cotton loads of laundry.

In our final flint-and-steel attempt we used a cotton ball soaked in petroleum jelly. This was placed on a loose pile of dry twigs inside the starter box, and a few magnesium shavings were added. The cotton ball ignited easily with a few sparks, and the starter box caught fire quickly.

Moisture considerations

These fires were all made in dry, clear conditions and clearly some consideration must be given to damp conditions. With even slightly damp fuel the need for a hot, sustained starter fire is even more pronounced, and the methods with accelerants such as petroleum jelly or wax are probably favored. While we were unable to get the wax-coated cloth lit with just a flint and steel, such a cloth would probably be a good thing to add to the initial fire once it is kindled to keep it burning hot for a long enough time to ignite your larger kindling.

Other methods

Most of us carry matches in some sort of waterproof container, but with a little work you can make waterproof matches with built-in accelerant!

Melt a quantity of parafin wax in a double boiler (I [T.R.] use an old spaghetti sauce jar for the inner part of the double boiler). Pour a small amount of this into the empty bottom of a cardboard matchbox. Allow it to cool slightly, but while it is still workable press a row of wooden kitchen matches into the wax. Space them out so that each pair of matches has almost a match-width of wax in between. Pour more wax over this row, and allow to cool some more. Continue this process, making layer upon layer of matches, and what will result is a block of matches sealed in a watertight package of wax. If you've left room in between the matches you can carve out one at a time, along with the wax around it, as you need. The match basically becomes a self-lighting candle.

With matches prepared by this technique, we were able to get our starter box ablaze with just a small pile of dry twigs and one of these matches; the wax on the match melts onto the twigs and burns hot for a much longer time than an ordinary match would. One thing I've noticed, though, is that the matches are somewhat harder to strike than usual --- I used "strike anywhere" matches, but found that "anywhere" pretty much had to be "anywhere on the striker that came on the box," as the strike-anywhere tip of the match just abraded away whenever I tried to strike it on a rock. Now I include a strip of striker in the waterproof container that holds my matches.

A method favored by some Cibola members is to fill spent shotgun shells with wax and a wick; this could be used to ignite the starter box as with the wax-covered matches or petroleum jelly soaked cotton. We did not test this method.

One method we've seen attempted often, but never seen work, is to douse a pile of dry wood with lantern fuel (kerosene). Sure, if there are some small dry twigs in there that the fuel can get going, it is possible to get larger logs burning this way. However, not only is this unsafe, but incredibly lacking in finesse. The reason it never works with logs is that the kerosene burns rapidly, but not hot enough or long enough to ignite the wood.

If you have been carrying around fire starting materials that you have not tried out, it would pay to see if you could actually make a fire that way. We had a few surprises, and it was better to have learned what didn't work this way than on a cold night in the field. Back to Top
Public Relations by Susan Corban
Our recruitment efforts seem to be working. Sixteen new members attended our last business meeting and several have attended trainings. I'd like to ask every team member to extend a welcome to the new folks and help answer their questions.

On January 12th, from 5:30 to 6:30 Cibola will hold a workshop as part of the Sandia Employee Recreation Program. This will be a general information session to recruit members.

On January 23 Cibola will have the opportunity to speak to the Trailwatch Volunteers at the Open Space volunteer training day. Later in the year we'll also provide a Fireside Chat for the Department of Open Space.

In mid-winter we will present a workshop on Outdoor Preparedness for REI. This workshop will be open to the public.

In June we'll be the featured speakers at the Volunteers for the Outdoors meeting. This is their best-attended meeting of the year.

In addition to these presentations, Steve Meserole is arranging some newspaper articles. We're going to be listed in newsletters for all the organizations mentioned above, as well as the Albuquerque Journal. Mickey Jojola is helping us track what's working. He'll ask newcomers where they heard about Cibola. So far everything we've done seems to have generated some newcomers. Now if we could just find an extra large net . . . . Back to Top
On the Right Track by Mary Berry
The canine unit has been continuing to meet every Tuesday evening and every other weekend. The Boy Scouts have been helping us out for the last month, and, typically, this means we are blessed with three 12 year olds once a week. The boys have all been great, and they are generally eager and willing to listen to instructions on how to help us. Jacob, the main scout who brought this project together, has to fill out a training log for each training on each dog. The log covers lots of details about the training, including the weather conditions, terrain, time of day, goals of that day's training, drawing a map of what happened, and rating of the dog's performance. This amounts to quite a bit of homework, since we are usually training four or five dogs each time.

A few weeks ago, I attended a training of the Albuquerque Police Department's canine unit. It was very interesting and was a good way to get to know some other dog handlers in the local area. Their canine unit is comprised of about seven dogs (and handlers). The dogs are all Malinois imported from Belgium and cost the department between $5000 and $10,000 each. These dogs were all very friendly, but were absolute fireballs when it came to going to work (called "high drive"). Some of the dogs are trained strictly for narcotics detection, and others are trained for both narcotics detection and search and apprehension. (I imagine it does cause a lot of apprehension.) The training occurred at a warehouse in downtown ABQ, which was filled with shelves of cardboard boxes. The officers demonstrated a drug detection dog, and then showed me some "search" dogs. Almost all of their search work occurs in buildings - looking for the bad guy. Afterward, all the officers were showing me their dog's canine teeth, asking "Anything you can do about this?" Knowing that I was a vet, they were all quick to point out that the tips of the dog's teeth were broken off. This occurs when the dog bites into the protection suit the "helper" has to wear when they are training the dog to apprehend the suspect. The dogs begin such a rigorous tug-of-war with the "helper's" protected arm or leg, that the tips of the teeth break off in the suit! YOWZA! Anyway, my answer to the question was "root canal."

I think it pays to network with dog handlers in the local area. About two years ago, an APD officer called me in the middle of the night to see if I had a trailing dog that could find some kids last seen at a city park. I was walking out the door to respond when the 10-22 call came. That has been the only instance, but maybe the dogs can get a little more action if we are better known. At the very least, the more people you know, the more exchange of dog training information will occur. This can only make a person a better dog trainer. Back to Top
Web News by Tom Russo
The new database server is in place. Please report broken database pages to me if you find any.

If your email account is going to be cancelled, please let us know before that happens. We had a rash of bouncing emails this month which caused great inconvenience to the people to whom CSAR's email is forwarded. The team website can be accessed at http://www.cibolasar.org/
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NMESC Notes by Nancy O'Neill
Update from our last exciting meeting, November 21st, in the "picturesque" locale of Moriarity: We approved Jim Koehler (AMRC) to fill the vacancy on the board that Brian Holcomb left and Nancy O'Neill to take over the secretary position that Brian held. Kaye Sinclair is the now acting editor of the newsletter, so teams, yes, you will get the newsletter in a timely fashion now. As you all know by now, the 800mhz have been recalled. Helicopter training will take place this March over at KAFB, details to be determined at the next meeting. ESCAPE is shaping up with a committee meeting to take place on January 10,1999 at the Tijeras BCSD substation; all are welcome to attend (and if you didn't give me any input, I don't want to hear any griping). We had a briefing from John Maio on the SAR Review Board happenings with highlights on APRS (Amateur Packet Reporting System) and who got upgraded in ICS (Alana Rushton is now a Type 2 and Mary Frietas is a new area commander). The next SAR Review Board meeting is February 19, 1999.

Our next meeting is in sunny Alamogordo at the White Sands Regional Airport on January 16, 1999. Committee meetings start at 0900 and the general membership meeting starts at 1300hrs. Back to Top
Snake Bites by Joyce Rumschlag
Prevention: Except for a few species, snakes tend to be shy or passive. Unless they are injured, trapped, or disturbed, snakes usually avoid contact with humans. The harmless species are often more prone to attack. All species of snakes are usually aggressive during their breeding season.

Avoidance: Many snakes are active during the period from twilight to daylight. Avoid walking as much as possible during this time. Since SAR members often search at night, remember to be alert for the sound of rattlesnakes and be aware that they are also active at night.

First Aid
If a person should accidentally step on or otherwise disturb a snake, it will attempt to strike. Poisonous snakes do not always inject venom when they bite or strike a person. However, all snakes may carry tetanus (lockjaw); anyone bitten by a snake, whether poisonous or non-poisonous, should immediately seek medical attention.

Get the subject to a medical treatment facility as soon as possible and with minimum movement. Until evacuation or treatment is possible, have the subject lie quietly and not move any more than necessary. The subject should not smoke, eat, or drink any fluids. If the subject has been bitten on an extremity, do not elevate the limb; keep the extremity level with the body. Keep the subject comfortable and be reassuring. If alone when bitten, the subject should go to a medical facility alone rather than waiting to be found. Unless the snake has been positively identified, attempt to kill it and send it with the subject. Be sure that retrieving the snake does not endanger anyone or delay transporting the subject.

If the bite is on an arm or leg the pressure immobilization method can be used. Correctly applied, this technique can virtually stop venom movement into the circulation until removed, up to hours later. This method poses no threat to limb tissue oxygenation, which is just one of the major problems with tourniquets. It must be remembered, however, that this method is only first aid. It is not definitive medical treatment for envenoming. Once in a hospital equipped to treat the bite with antivenin, if necessary, then all first aid will be removed after initial precautions and testing.

In summary, the pressure immobilization method of first aid is:

[Disclaimer: The editors remind you that written descriptions of first aid are not a substitute for proper first aid training, and that Cibola SAR's policy is that medical decisions are properly deferred to trained medical personnel, and any member rendering first aid does so as a private citizen, not as a member of Cibola SAR!]

CSL Antivenom Handbook
Virtual Naval Hospital
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Disclaimer the Editors
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.