Beaverhead Search and Rescue News
Submitted by Mel Rice-Public Relations Officer
This past weekend the Beaverhead Search and Rescue held its annual training camp out. The event took place at the Dinner Station camp ground up Birch Creek. There were 18 members who attended. The training started Saturday morning, June 10, after everyone enjoyed a hardy breakfast. The first presentation was a talk by Bear Specialist Jamie Trivette, an S&R member. She spoke on the proper use of bear spray and how to be bear aware when out on searches especially at night. Jamie also spoke about ways to discourage bears from attacking. This has become paramount for the safety of S&R personnel considering the number of bears in Beaverhead County.
Following the bear presentation the group moved right into a presentation by commander Lawrence Morrisroe, communications officer Brad Wagner, and secretary Kolby Malesich. They demonstrated the proper technique for setting up Starlink and its capabilities in remote areas of Beaverhead County. Having internet capabilities out in the sticks provides for endless means of tracking each of our members while they are in the field searching and/or rescuing individuals. It also provides a way to stay in touch with the rest of world when nothing else works. Each S&R member attending had the opportunity to download CAL TOPO which is the way base command can track each member in the field. Other things discussed during this session were the use of mobile command, running search checklist, radio operations and radio protocal.
Next was a session on the use of very specialized equipment. Wade Bush, Alex Dunn, Steve Mock, and Evan Helle demonstrated the use of vacu splints, backboards for transporting patients, placing splints and neck braces on patients, and how to handle patients according to injury protocal and etiquette. Once injuries are determined and proper equipment used to stabilize the patient, it must be determined the best means of moving the individual off the mountain to better care. Equipment that might be used for this purpose may include: litters, buggies (4 wheelers, side x sides), E-Mule and/or helicopter. It would be nice to use helicopter every time but it is not feasible. Terrain, weather conditions, and patient location all play a major role in determining the safest, timely, and most appropriate method of moving a patient. Even if weather is good, the closest LZ (landing zone) may be yards or miles away and then other alternatives must be use.
After lunch, there were two scenarios set up for actual hands on experience of what was taught in the morning sessions. One was a UTV role over down a short steep embankment and the other was a motor cycle rider that had wrecked on a single track trail up on the side of the mountain. Two different teams were deployed, one to each incident. Command was set up at the camp. Each team had to determine the possible equipment that may be needed, methods of extricating patients to safety and better care, and the best means of reaching the patient. Upon arrival on the scene an evaluation of area should be made to determine not only patient safety but also the rescue team safety. Then injury assessment is completed and all injuries are addressed by the best possible means. The patient is then loaded on the most appropriate means for transport to better medical care.
After each of the incidents were completed, members gathered together to evaluate how things were handled: what went right, what went wrong and how to improve each team’s handling of each scenario. Day 1 came to a conclusion with a wonderful steak dinner with all the trimmings and great conversation around a rather large camp fire.
Day 2 started off with a great breakfast before moving into rope rescue. SAR member Steve Mock was the presenter/instructor for this session. Various pieces of equipment necessary for rope rescues were present and demonstrated. After a very good explanation of the use of said equipment, Steve set up a scenario on a steep bank that sloped to the creek. With a victim at the bottom of the embankment, participating rescue members had to suit up with proper equipment, prepare for the descent down to the patient with a litter, package the patient, and then ascend the slope with the patient in the litter. The team doesn’t only include those going down and up the slope but also includes very technical individuals that are manning the rope pulley system which is actually letting the care team down or bringing them back up the bank.
The weekend was a great success even with the rain that came late Saturday afternoon and into the evening. Thank you to all of the instructors for having outstanding presentations and working scenarios. Thanks to all the members who participated in the great event. The instructors included Beaverhead SAR members: Brad Wagner, Lawrence Morrisroe, Steve Mock, Kolby Malesich, Evan Helle, Alex Dunn, Jamie Trivette, Joe Reyes, and Wade Bush. Other members participating were Clint Rouse, Park Scott, Mel Rice, Tara Remely, Cody Schnee, Ray Gross, Lance Hopman, Adam Norlander, and Tommy Goins.
Besides the members that participated, the Beaverhead Search and Rescue would like to thank the following individuals for helping out with cooking, cleanup, and playing victims; Julie Goins, Sandy Rice, Jan Mock, and Jhett Schnee. Thanks to all for a great couple of days… “In the Business of Saving Lives” your Beaverhead SAR….
Photos provided by Beaverhead Search & Rescue