Lost and Found... the newsletter of Volume 5, Issue 8
10 August 2000
Editors: Tom Russo, Mike Dugger,
and Susan Corban

Cibola Search and Rescue
"That Others May Live..."
Top of the Hill Boots and Blisters Business as Usual
Who's Who and New Gearing Up Public Relations
Feature Article Web News Disclaimer/Copyright
Recent Missions
Calendar
Callout Information
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Top of the Hill by Larry Mervine
Last month we were short on volunteers to take pager 1 duties. Pager 1 is no fun, but if all active members were to take a turn, then no one needs to handle pager 1 duties more than once in 24 months. This meeting I would like to see volunteers sign up for pager 1 to the end of the year. If this does not happen, I will be force to start assigning members to a month. It will be their responsible to handle pager 1 or find a replacement. Also, election of new team Officers will be in five months. Three current Officers have said they will not run for office next year. Two Officers have shown interest in other Officers positions. Get more involved become a Officer. There is more to being part of this team than going on missions. Do the right thing.

Another old Cibola team tradition is that you should keep your pack with you at all times, no matter how short the assignment.

See you out there! Back to Top
Boots and Blisters by Tom Russo
I would like to applaud all the Cibola and non-Cibola SAR volunteers, potential team members, and incident management staff who came out to participate in our mock search on 15 July. We had a terrific turnout, with nearly half of our own membership and quite a large number of other volunteers showing up. Frankly, if we'd had any more people coming out we probably would have had a bit of trouble finding something for them to do (but we would have found a way to get everyone involved, somehow).

From all accounts I've gotten so far, this was a successful mock search. All teams got to participate in the type of assignments they might be called upon to work on a real mission, we got to work on many of the techniques we've trained on so often in the past few years, and we got to work with a lot of our collegues in the New Mexico SAR community. And most importantly, we all got out there and helped find and retrieve our lost subject quickly while still keeping ourselves safe. (The simulated injuries and illnesses of team members that I threw in to give the WFRs something to practice on don't count as not staying safe!)

I will talk at length at this month's meeting about how it all came together and about some of the minor glitches that either point to things we can do better or to typical "snafus" we might realistically encounter on real missions. I hope we can have some fruitful discussions about the things we learned about this mock mission, and that we can use it to concentrate some of our future efforts on honing our abilities to perform well under imperfect conditions.

If you want to read more details about the mock search, see our "training debrief" web page at http://www.cibolasar.org/training_debriefs/000715.shtml. If you have feedback you'd like included there, please pass it to me and I'll put it on that web page.

August's training will be a summer bivy at Williams Lake on Saturday and Sunday, August 12th and 13th. Paul Donovan will have details for us at the team meeting. Paul will also lead a discussion of survival techniques such as water procurement and treatment and lightning awareness. Paul would like to leave town by 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Information on a muster location will be on the voicemail by Friday.

While I did announce in June a training schedule that I claimed avoided all major holidays, I did apparently miss one. The litter evaluation for October was originally scheduled for the weekend of Columbus Day. I have updated the training schedule and moved that litter evaluation to the weekend after our October training; October's eval will be on 21 October instead. I apologize for not catching that before publishing the table back in June.


The hike of the month for August will be the summer bivy.
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Business as Usual from minutes by Nancy O'Neill

Highlights of 13 July business meeting

President

Three officers are absent for this meeting; David Dixon, secretary, is on vacation, Nancy O'Neill is taking minutes; Susan Corban and Mike Dugger are giving a presentation to the Field Coordinators on Cibola's capabilities.

There is one new member present, Shannon Lumpkin, who heard about Cibola from the WFR class at UNM and from posters at Mountains and Rivers.

Nancy O'Neill has been named CE coordinator.

Membership

In Susan's absence, Larry reports that there were no new active members and no orientations this month.

Secretary's Report

The secretary is absent. Nancy O'Neill is taking minutes. Tom Russo points out that minutes of the last meeting are on the web and highlights are published in the newsletter.

Treasurer's report

Tom Russo read the month's cash flow and balances in Mike Dugger's absence. Training-related reimbursments have all been made.

Training Officer's Report

submitted by Training Officer Tom Russo: People who have not had their orientation may participate in the Mock Search but may not take field assignments: they can come and help out in base camp. Saturday, 15 July 2000, is the Mock Search.

Last week's litter eval was cancelled due not enough people needed to do this eval. He needed 6 people and only 5 were signed up on the previous Friday night.

October is the last chance for a litter eval. There will be a litter handling training the month before.

12-13 August is the Williams Lake bivvy, headed up by Paul Donovan. Basic survival skills such as water procurement will be practiced.

Equipment Committee Report

James Newberry reminded us to come to him for supplies. A list is in the newsletter. His check for cheaper maps is a no-go. We do have "pumpkin" stickers. He also announced that Joyce Rumschlag has been running the Valencia County Ham net. Chris Murray is assistant gear handler.

* Pager 1 duties: Mickey Jojola for July
Pager 2 duties: Tom Russo for July

New Issues

Website for WFR or anyone wanting to see a good medical: http://www.emedicine.com/

Larry showed new SOAP Notes designed by David Dixon that will be in a non-carbon triplicate copy form.

We have money left from the REI grant, we will hold off to discuss how to spend at a later date. Back to Top
Who's Who and New by Susan Corban

Important Reminders to New Members:

If you haven't yet taken the PACE Exam, (state certification for field responders), try to get to the September 16 exam in Tijeras (especially those of you who need to take the exam within the next six months to become active). This exam is only given a couple of times a year and may be given in a distant part of the state. There will be an exam in November, somewhere in New Mexico, but the next exam after that probably won't be until May of 2001.

If you have been to three events, it's time to get your orientation packet from me. If you've got the packet, as soon as you've looked through it and got your gear, call me to arrange your orientation.

Not much at all has happened in the membership department this month. I'd love to have more member profiles from some of you who have not told us your life story. If there are any volunteers, please email me (to slcorban@unm.edu) whatever you care to share with the rest of us about your interest in SAR, family, other interests, etc. Back to Top
Gearing Up by James Newberry
List of equipment available for Active and prospective members to use on SAR activities. ( For SAR use only)

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Public Relations by David Dixon
August is always a busy month for P.R. Upcoming is our (famous) Fireside Chat on Outdoor Preparedness for Albuquerque Open Space and some basic compass skills for interested kids and adults on the Hike the following morning. We'll also be setting up our table for some recruiting/P.R. at UNM Day and the re-established East Mountain Rendezvous. (Check the calendar or hotline for dates, times and locations of these events).

Ok, missions are down, we've all packed and repacked our stuff and gone to most of the trainings. What else can we do? This organization is running very smoothly right now, but setting up trainings, keeping track of gear and new people, managing our finances, promoting ourselves, keeping the website going, and of course I could go on and on, takes lots of time and effort. And all this to ultimately be there for those lost and in need. So while waiting to get out in the field, volunteer for something else: set up a hike of the month, write an informative article for the newsletter, help an officer with their duties and then better yet run for an office, or do my heart good and help with a P.R. event.

As we all know Cibola is one of the finest, highly respected search and rescue teams in the state. Let's all do what it takes to keep it that way. Back to Top
Web News by Tom Russo
I have added information on the Mock Search to our "training debriefs" web page. Feel free to send me your comments about the mock search, because I do want to document the impressions of members who feel they have something to say about it.
The team website can be accessed at http://www.cibolasar.org/
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Apocalyptic Pagers Now by Mike Dugger
Many of you know that we have had major problems with pager service in the past six months. The purpose of this article is to explain to you what has been going on, present some alternatives about which we will need to decide, and accelerate the healing process for the aneurysm I developed while dealing with this. Maybe you'll enjoy parts of it too.

History

Cibola SAR has used pagers to activate its members for missions since at least June of 1994, when I attended my first mission. It was not until about October that I became familiar with exactly how the procedure worked and how the pagers fit into that plan. We originally had just two pagers, affectionately referred to as "Pager #1" and "Pager #2." In those days a primary or secondary contact answered the call from whoever was paging us, and then activated the phone tree. Each "branch" of the tree had a leader and several people under them on the branch. The branch leader was responsible for contacting all the members on their branch, but the branch leaders did not have pagers like we do today. Very few members had pagers at all, and none with the group number that notified them when the team was activated. We also did not have voicemail, so all mission details had to be repeated over and over to each person that was contacted. The result was lots of phone calls, and up to 30 minutes to get a branch activated. If you think that is bad, imagine having to call more than one branch!

After a growth spurt in fall of 1994, we decided to add pagers to the team account so that each top of branch would have a pager. At about the same time, we were able to get a voicemail account donated by the kind folks at Sandia National Laboratories, with the help of JD Martin and Jim Baremore - both SAR kindred spirits and Sandia managers. We got a great deal from Contact Paging in part because Lisa Eberle, Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) member and wife of AMRC's president Sinjin, was an account manager for Contact. Lisa took care of us and service was great for a while. We got used to the system and our callout procedure came to look essentially the way it does today. There were some minor billing problems from time to time, but no real technical problems until August 1997 when we seriously considered changing companies after missing many pages. We devised an experiment to determine how many pages were being missed and where people were when they missed them. With this, we were able to convince Contact to take a closer look and they found a programming error on their end. Once this was fixed, we were back to good service.

In 1998, Lisa called to say that she and Sinjin were moving to Colorado and Danae would be taking care of our account. I went to meet Danae and found her to be very helpful. Things again ran great for a while, and I had only to call Danae and she would pull up our account in their pager software and fix little problems while I was on the phone with her. Alas, this relationship was not to last. Danae became very irritated with members coming in for service and asked people to make appointments ahead of time. Early this year we had another rash of missed pages, and a charge for $10 on the account with very little explanation. When I called Danae to work this out I discovered she had moved on without so much as a goodbye. It took a few days and a personal visit to their office but I finally got in touch with Sid, our new representative.

Once I made contact with Sid he was very helpful. We determined that our missed pages were not reproducible, and dropped that issue. We could not determine for certain what the $10 charge was for, but one of our members did get $10 in repairs to a pager at about the same time and paid for it in cash. Contact said we would have to prove that the member paid for those repairs in cash. I asked Sid instead to prove that one of our pagers was actually worked on. They had no record of person, pager number, or anything so Sid agreed to drop it. A bit sloppy, but so far so good. What that $10 charge did do, however, is get us in touch with a new account representative as well as clue me in to some changes coming. The bill now said Unity Communications. Turns out that Contact Paging had been acquired by Unity Communications, and Sid told me that account rates would be going up for our members who had their own accounts. He assured me, however, that our organizational rates would not go up right away, and I would have several months notice if they were to raise our rates for airtime.

Imagine my surprise last month when I got our bill for the second half of 2000 and discovered that our cost for airtime had gone up 60 percent! Furthermore, that $10 charge Sid and I had talked about months ago was still there! I immediately called Sid for an explanation. He apologized and said it was a surprise to him too. I told him that it would be tough for us to adjust to this kind of increase, and we would be looking around at other service providers. I asked Sid to talk to his management and figure out the best deal they could offer us. He once again agreed to take care of that $10 charge. In the meantime, I followed up on leads from our own members as well as New Mexico SAR Support about good deals from different pager service providers.

Recent Events

Our story continues on the morning of Friday, August 4. Steve Meserole discovered that our group number was disconnected, and immediately notified the officers. It was quickly determined that none of the pagers for which the team pays airtime were working. I found that Sid's pager number was also disconnected, as was the phone number listed for Contact in the phone book. I contacted Unity Communications' corporate office via their website, got a new phone number for the Albuquerque store, and discovered that our account was in collections. They said I could pay by credit card and get our pagers reactivated as soon as the local store opened in Albuquerque. Shortly after 9 AM I made contact with Michael at Unity in Albuquerque. Michael was able to tell me that our service was disconnected because of that $10 charge that was over 120 days past due, not the fact that we had not yet renewed our service for the second half of 2000. They apparently used to disconnect service after just 30 days but notified the customer prior to disconnecting them. Now they just cut you off after 120 days. After relaying the whole story about the $10 to Michael, he reactivated our account. He also mentioned that we MIGHT be able to get a similar or equivalent deal to that offered by the other companies I have been talking to. As of this writing, I don't yet have Unity's new proposal but I expect it within a week. I will make some sort of interim arrangements with Unity to give us time to consider all options with input from all of our affected members. This may consist of renewing with Unity at the higher rates for a maximum of another six months while we consider other proposals. I have the following proposals from other service providers, and list those along with our past and present arrangements with Unity below. Annual costs are based on 8 pagers (5 tree branch leaders, 2 team owned pagers, 1 group number).

[Ed. Note: Prices deleted for nonmember version]

Although I would characterize our service from Unity as less than satisfactory during the past year or so, changing service providers will be a hassle. This is particularly true since we have come to rely exclusively on this system for activating our team for missions, and would need to maintain capability during the change. At the same time, some of the other providers have attractive rates and additional capabilities that we cannot obtain with our present system. It is difficult to anticipate if service for a small account like ours would be any better from the other service providers. Maintaining service in a dynamic organization such as ours has required constant vigilance in the past, and this is likely to continue. Even with the problems we have experienced, this system remains the most efficient and reliable way to activate us for missions, as evidenced by the fact that most emergency response organizations use a system like it. Back to Top
Disclaimer and Copyright notice the Editors
The contents of this newsletter are copyright © 2000 by their respective authors or by Cibola Search and Rescue, Inc., and individual articles represent the opinions of the author. Cibola SAR makes no representation, express or implied, with regard to the accuracy of the information contained in these articles, and cannot accept any legal responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions that may be made. Articles contained in this newsletter may be reproduced, with attribution given to Cibola SAR and the author, by any member of the Search and Rescue community for use in other team's publications. TML>