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#288697 - 04/10/18 06:39 PM Developing Survival Skills in SAR
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
"Ah,now I see why you got into SAR! Purely for the CDI factor. grin"

This comment by Phaedrus in the malibu hiker thread inspires me to rant on one of my favorite subject - SAR and Survival

Well, actually, I got involved in SAR (Search and Rescue) through a string of circumstances for which I am grateful. Wilderness SAR involvement has been one of the most positive pursuits in my life.

Survival schools are sprouting up all over the place, but I would submit that joining a SAR unit, and actively participating, will over time give you unparalleled experience in dealing with rough circumstances.

You will be called to work at very unusual times and circumstances - starting at noon on a hot summer day, or hitting the trail into a setting winter sun as a storm builds, knowing that what is in your pack and on your body will be what will sustain you for the next 24 hours, or maybe more.

But you are part of an organized group, you almost always have radio contact. Things will likely not get too far out of hand.

Sooner or later, you and the group will be faced with unusual and challenging situations. Learning will commence. Grading is a pass/fail system.

I was involve with SAR overall for more than twenty five years, very intensely for fifteen years. I learned an immense amount about team work, crisis management, unequaled joy, and deep tragedy. Oddly enough, I gained more from my SAR experience that I put into the SAR effort, and I put a lot in
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#288699 - 04/10/18 07:10 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: hikermor]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1120
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: hikermor
..... I learned an immense amount about team work, crisis management, unequaled joy, and deep tragedy. Oddly enough, I gained more from my SAR experience that I put into the SAR effort, and I put a lot in

Well said!

I would add that these days most organized SAR teams have some sort of training program in place, that one must complete to become a full fledged member of the team. This training usually includes a lot of basic survival skills appropriate for the local environment. Also, new members always learn a lot from the old hands who've been around awhile.

One of the main reasons I've stuck around in SAR as long as I have is that SAR teams are just a good bunch of folks to hang with. Jerks, and idiots don't generally sign up for SAR teams, and when they do they rarely stay very long. While SAR team members all have their personal quirks, they are almost always good folks to spend time with.
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#288701 - 04/11/18 03:54 AM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: hikermor]
Phaedrus Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2168
Loc: Great Plains
It sounds like a very rewarding and challenging activity. Just making one "save" would make it worth all the work and sacrifice.
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#288703 - 04/11/18 01:00 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: Phaedrus]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
A lot of times,the involvement by SAR doesn't really make all that much difference - the subjects were just overdue but were in good shape, etc.,but the there are occasions where you absolutely, positively know that your efforts made a difference and that you, yes you, definitely saved a life - you get a high that will last for days.

In fact, we would call ourselves 'addicts" and "junkies" - there is something to that comparison.
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#288706 - 04/14/18 05:39 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: hikermor]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1384
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Survival schools are sprouting up all over the place, but I would submit that joining a SAR unit, and actively participating, will over time give you unparalleled experience in dealing with rough circumstances.


Hikermor is right as usual. I did a SAR course, but never got around to doing the certification or actually volunteering. I also did some weekend survival classes, and I feel you'll learn so much more from SAR.

I'll also second AKSAR's comment about the quality of people you might meet. I understand that SAR attracts Rambo types periodically, but they soon leave upon discovering that the actual work isn't the sort of fantasy that might uphold their ego. The type of people you might work with is really important. Your friends shape you. Also, it's hard to do something for long unless you've got friends to do it with. Suddenly an emergency happens and you're struggling to remember what to do. (I haven't practiced any of my skills for a long, long time. Hope that won't happen to me.)

If you want to write a book about survival, don't just as questions on the internet. Join your local SAR group, and you'll have stuff to write about after ten years.

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#288707 - 04/14/18 09:52 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: hikermor]
Montanero Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1426
Loc: North Carolina
Hikermor's comments are spot on. My only experience with SAR is trying not to need it. I have searched for people, but ones that did not want to be found. Having a purpose is very helpful to really understanding the need to be prepared.

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#288713 - 04/16/18 03:50 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: Montanero]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Montanero
Hikermor's comments are spot on. My only experience with SAR is trying not to need it. I have searched for people, but ones that did not want to be found. Having a purpose is very helpful to really understanding the need to be prepared.


small children have been known to hide from rescuers, evidently in fear that they had done something wrong and would be punished. We have also rescued fleeing criminals who got in a even worse pickle. After being rescued, they did not pass Go, did not collect $200, but went straight to jail....
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#288714 - 04/17/18 12:27 AM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: hikermor]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1065
Loc: Channeled Scablands
"small children have been known to hide from rescuers[/quote]

And Idaho Elk hunters. They died, but not from embarrassment.

---

I got started with ESAR, Explorer Search and Rescue with the Boy Scouts. Unlike today when the age of doing grownup things keeps moving upward(Driving, living on ones own, owning firearms, etc.) as high school kids we got to drive big trucks, buses, four wheel drives and snowmobiles off road, search for body parts at crime scenes, stay out all night in howling blizzards with the adults comfortably ensconced back at the Com Van, look for crashed UFO's, train to be EMT's (including how to start IV's, take blood, suture on live patients). Everyone in the post could follow a compass bearing for several miles in the dark, had enough gear with them to treat hypothermia for a victim, knew first aid, knew radio codes to transmit information that wouldn't upset victim families or the media if overheard at the search base. We could figure the probability of location of the victim, choose the correct search pattern, figure the probability of detection and then the probability of success. All this and it was co-ed too.

A couple from our post went on to be MD's and one is a regional head of the US Marshals.


Edited by clearwater (04/17/18 12:29 AM)

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#288715 - 04/17/18 01:18 AM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: clearwater]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2726
Loc: Alberta, Canada
cool cool cool

May I assume this excellent program pre-dated bubble wrap?

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#288717 - 04/17/18 02:50 PM Re: Developing Survival Skills in SAR [Re: clearwater]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6645
Loc: southern Cal
We readily accepted teens, both sexes, into our group and they contributed significantly. Diversity of backgrounds, experience, and knowledge is a good thing. We had climbers and cavers who were PE's (engineers) in the real world, physicians and RNs who responded to operations and were competent deep in the woods, as well as people who were not terrifically strong hikers, but were reliable, dependable, and able to accomplish much. A lot had to do with knowing everyone's capabilities and giving reasonable assignments.

My experience in SAR with groups comprising both sexes was my first experience with the generally superior performance of groups comprising both sexes, especially in situations where problem solving and noel approaches to situations is involved.

Of course, this is not a rigorously scientific experience. I have only data on all male groups and mixed groups. Earlier in life, I tried very hard to acquire data on all female groups, but was unsuccessful (alas!)

There is just something about the atmosphere is a mixed group which leads to productivity and good results - lower testosterone levels???
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