|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|
|Top of the Hill||by Larry Mervine|
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.
|Boots and Blisters||by Tom Russo|
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 Month||Oak Flat/Juan Tomas Loop||0800, Dec 27, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: Oak Flat Parking Lot|
|R.T. Distance: 5-8 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 7300/7768|
|Hiking Time 3-4 hours||Hazards:|
|Topo Maps: Escabosa & Sedillo|
|Who's Who and New||by Mickey Jojola|
|Gearing Up||by Mike Dugger|
...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.
|Mini Lesson||by Tom Russo and Mike Dugger|
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?).
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 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.
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.
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.
|Public Relations||by Susan Corban|
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 . . . .
|On the Right Track||by Mary Berry|
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.
|Web News||by Tom Russo|
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/
|NMESC Notes||by Nancy O'Neill|
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.
|Snake Bites||by Joyce Rumschlag|
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.
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:
CSL Antivenom Handbook
Virtual Naval Hospital