Lewis & Clark County Search & Rescue

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2015 Montana SAR Rendezvous Class Descriptions

Man Tracking

This course is designed to train individuals who are active in search and rescue in the techniques of man tracking. Individuals will be exposed to slide presentations, class activities, and outside exercises which will increase their awareness in the searching for lost individuals or groups in mountainous terrain. Students will be exposed to training activities for both day and night tracking. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to function effectively as an operational tracking team member.

Basic SAR Survival

Survival situations are very rare on lost or missing person incidents for the people that respond as searchers. Certainly anything long term very rarely ever occurs except in the remotest of locations. However, situations don’t need to be long term or remote to threaten safety or even life itself. Hazardous weather, medical situations, tragic accidents, and injuries all complicate a SAR mission. Dangerous terrain, unexpected equipment failures, lack of resources and even inexperience of some personnel produce very challenging situations that potentially mean the difference between life and death for search subjects. These situations often, after the fact, show us how much we don’t know and point out necessary skills that we should have acquired for a particular effort in SAR.

The Survival Basics for SAR Responders class is a mix of essential knowledge and practical skills for responders to adequately safeguard themselves and their potential missing, injured or incapacitated subjects in extreme environments. Every day we see half-truths, myths and misconceptions about survival through the medium of books, newspaper articles, the Hollywood hype of films and reality TV. This training sums up what it takes to survive, regardless of the situation, length of time, location or environmental conditions that confront responders on SAR missions. The class initially explores basic concepts and principles of survival in the classroom by examining the latest research, characteristics of survivors, and the influence that myths and misconceptions have on people when confronted with real situations. We will compare the sources of these myths and misconceptions and contrast them with the real priorities and necessities during true life survival scenarios.

More than 50% of this class will involve practical activities in an outdoor setting. Subjects covered will include, but will not be limited to: building a personal survival kit with good equipment and resources, tips, tricks and recommendations for immediate action shelter (personal protection for you and someone injured), Clothing system tips, jargon and nomenclature for outdoor garments, fail proof firecraft for extreme environments (one handed techniques and other tips), expedient rope, knot and lash skills, improvised navigation tools, nutritional requirements for long arduous SAR missions, as well as signaling basics and safe handling of pyrotechnic and other signaling devices

Search Management Skills

Lost Person Behavior: 2 hours – 08:00 to 10:00

This two hour block provides a synopsis of Bob Koester’s latest publication, Lost Person Behavior and how to use the resource data from ISRID (International Search and Rescue Incident Database of over 50,000 cases) effectively on a missing person search for establishing both strategy and tactics. Combining national and international data through the concept of ECO-Regions is also discussed. Other topics including, but not limited to, will be: notable behaviors of lost people, common lost person strategies, categories and classifications of missing people, primary differences between adults and children, statistical probability zones, map interpretation of statistical data, probability loading on the map, reflex tasking by category and the importance of SOPs in the initial response phase of a search.

Reflex Tasking: 2 hours – 10:00 to 12:00

Reflex Tasking represents the initial rapid deployment of resources on-scene to “likely spots.” These initial action tactics have proven their worth many times with only limited information available. The specifics of these tasks relate directly to the category of subject and the collected body of clues in the ISRID database. As an example, children of a certain age or Alzheimer’s disease sufferers do some very characteristic things and we have good clues about where to look. By immediately accessing this data on the way to a potential search, the Reflex Tasks immediately drive the search. One of the most visible attributes of Reflex Tasking provides an immediate show of resources doing something in the field, and doing something based on proven results. This comforts family, media, peers and companions at the scene. Reflex Tasking shows an immediate purpose and solidly gives the credible, dependable and immediate response for a potential search.

Basic Searching Benchmarks: 3 hours – 13:00 – 16:00

Average range of detection: How many people do we really need to search an area? How long will it take? What was the team’s Probability of Detection? This clinic will explore the most important benchmarks for search teams to establish in any local area. Students will spend the day with an introduction to applied search theory and practical examples of how to use this information to build a catalogue for operational use in varying terrain and at different times of the year. Research is discussed as it relates to determination of Sweep Width and Coverage. Using Robert Koester’s Average Range of Detection (Rd) calculations, participants will determine their Probability of Detection in the field and use practical exercises to increase detection capabilities. The field work will use current research and field work models developed by Koester Et al. in the National Search and Rescue experiments on Sweep Width conducted all across the country.

Basic Search Tactics: Vision, POD, Searching the Cube, 100 M grid search and Searching Linear Features, Virtually all training related to Basic Search and Rescue Skills refers to or references a technique for searchers in the field using what we call the “Searcher Cube.” This portion of the clinic defines that often referenced “searcher cube” and identifies a training shortfall in the SAR community concerning ways to effectively search in a consistent, reliable way. To understand and improve what really happens in the field on a search: this module looks at both the research and the experiments conducted so far; the searcher errors recorded in those experiments; and finally, the suggested use of a visual routine very similar to that used by instrument pilots as well as military and police patrols to keep track of very busy and complicated visual environments

Land Navigation

8-hr. Course. No prior experience required. By the end of this course the student will be able to consistently plot and determine Geo-coordinates. The students will learn about Azimuths and Back Azimuths with a compass. Emphasis on terrain features in the field versus printed maps. Discussion on Elevation and land navigation techniques.

Low Angle Rescue

8-hr. Course. No prior experience required. This course is designed for anyone in emergency services. The students will have working knowledge of basic knots used in rescues, hauling systems for bringing a patient or personnel up to an area, patient packaging and belaying systems for lowering. All systems will taught with an emphasis on safety and how it is factored in each rescue.

I have witnessed Officers, in an attempt to access a patient in a vehicle down a ravine, simply climb over a guardrail and slide down to the vehicle. Then they were stuck without a way to get back up on their own. These techniques are paramount when responding to any emergency. - Sgt. A. Hughes, L&C Sheriffs Office

Explosive & Military Ordnance Recognition Training

Paper targets that explode using Tannerite® are becoming very popular with gun enthusiasts in the outdoors. In addition, some areas have unexploded ordnances. This course will give the students an awareness of the different types of explosives that could be found on a mission. But this course is NOT just for SAR personnel. This course is for anyone in Law Enforcement or Fire that might come across an explosive in their duties.

The training is designed to teach safe handling techniques to people with little or no experience with explosives and military ordnance. Students will learn the basics of explosives as well as the different types that exist. This knowledge will benefit those that travel in the outdoors of Montana.

The student will have the opportunity for “hands on experience” in preparing and detonating a number of different types of explosives using various firing systems. Procedures and safe practices concerning military ordnance will be taught. Examples of military ordnance commonly recovered in the field will be shown.

The training will be held in four hour blocks at the Helena Police Department shooting range located at 3860 Airport Rd. The Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad training/disposal range is also located at this location. A covered classroom is also available.

The training will be held from 0800-1200 and 1300-1500 hours on a daily basis. Depending on interest there will be a minimum of three classes. Due to the nature of training there will be a maximum of eight students per session. A minimum of two instructors, who are LCSO deputies and certified HDS Bomb Techs, will conduct the training. Student attire will consist of cotton clothing with either leather or canvas non nylon foot wear. Rain gear can be nylon if it is raining hard though a rubberized rain gear is more appropriate. Safety glasses and hearing protection will be provided to the student if the student is unable to bring any.

The most important knowledge students will acquire throughout the duration of the training are SAFETY procedures when handling explosives and military ordnance.

This Awareness Training is being provided by the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit.

Search and Rescue K9 Awareness

Learn how to integrate SAR K9s into your search missions. This class will provide Law Enforcement, Search Coordinators and Team Members with the information needed to understand the various types of Certified Dog Teams.

You will learn:

The class will then have actual demonstrations of some of the disciplines as time permits.