Thanks to the 28 members who attended today’s helicopter orientation training today at Mercy Flight Headquarters. Members received Mercy Flight Ground Crew Safety Certification and also received the Erie County Sheriff’s Dept Air 1 orientation in preparation for June’s training at Allegheny State Park where NFSAR teams will be inserted into a remote area of the park via helicopter for overnight SAR bivouac and navigation training.
Last Saturday, NFSAR’s newest members attended the DEC Basic Wildland Search class at Hillcrest Fire Company. A few of our senior team members served as crew bosses during the field session. Congratulations on completing this essential portion of your training!
Do you know when to add or subtract the magnetic declination from your compass? What is the declination value of where you are at right now? I am at 10° 41′ west declination here in Niagara County.
Here is a link to “How to Use Magnetic Declination with a Compass” by Dan (Outbound Dan) Human.
Thanks to the team 30 members and significant others who attended the team Christmas luncheon in East Aurora last Saturday. It was a rare time for us to relax, get to know our newer members better, and to catch up on life. We also raised over $2400 in the team 50/50 raffle, allowing us to surprise one lucky ticket holder with a $1200 Christmas present and increase the team’s bank account by $1200. Thanks to our members for this year’s ticket sales, and thanks for your commitment NFSAR – we have a dedicated and talented team of SAR volunteers. Merry Christmas and have a great Holiday season!
Thanks to the 11 members and one guest who participated in the 2014 NFSAR High Peaks familiarization trip. The group was split into two teams; the first was lead by Dan Perry, and they camped at Marcy Dam and hiked Phelps Mtn on Saturday. The second team was lead by Dan Human and they camped at the Avalanche Camp lean-to at the Lake Arnold trailhead, hiked Mt Colden from the East, descended via the West trail to Lake Colden, and returned via Avalanche Pass. The weather provided a perfect opportunity to experience the ADKs in the ‘shoulder’ seasons, ranging from sunny and 55F on Friday afternoon, heavy rain, mud and 40s on Saturday, and 30F and 2″ of snow for the hike out.
And once again, the team was in the right place at the right time to assist with a potential SAR event. The Avalanche Camp team encountered a lone female hiker at about 5PM as they approached their lean-to. She had never hiked in the ADKs before, was separated from the other four people she was with, didn’t really know where she was, had fallen twice and injured her ankle slowing her down substantially, and was cold/wet and near tears. The Avalanche team began to interview her and collect information, and within minutes happened to be met on the trail by the Marcy Dam caretaker who was out checking lean-tos. Three of the other members of her group were separated before they even summit-ed, and there was significant uncertainty where they were as the female on the trail did not know what mountain they had climbed. The Marcy Dam caretaker escorted the hiker back to the Marcy Dam Interior Outpost to get her safe and warmed up, and then planned to escort her back to the HPIC parking lot. Since only one Ranger was on duty in that area and was miles away, the team volunteered to help out by manning a post at the Lake Arnold/Avalanche Pass trail intersection near their lean-to, and in fact encountered the missing hikers as they made their way slowly down the Avalanche Pass trail at 9PM. With additional support from the other NFSAR team at Marcy Dam who they were able to contact via radio, NFSAR contacted the Marcy Dam caretaker via Ray Brook dispatch on the Whiteface DEC repeater to report identifying the three separated hikers and to provide an estimate as to the time it would take for them to arrive back at the HPIC parking lot and be reunited with the other two hikers in their original party. The Marcy Dam caretaker, who the Avalanche Camp team encountered again Sunday morning, was very appreciative and impressed by the team’s professionalism. Another interesting opportunity to play a small role in supporting the DEC.
A great trip, a great learning experience, and we’ll be doing it again next year, so watch for the 2015 team training calendar and reserve those dates.
Search & Rescue
Thanks to our NFSAR Board of Directors and interested member candidates who attended last night’s membership information meeting at the Fire Academy. We briefed the team and it’s mission to a very strong group of member candidates and conducted very positive screening interviews. We still have openings left in the September 5th and 19th information sessions, and look forward to meeting other potential volunteers who, like us, are interested in combining their love of the outdoors and outdoor skills with the mission of helping others. Send your e-mail inquiry to Jim Pankow at email@example.com.
Thanks to the 15 Trainees and members of NFSAR who participated in our 7 hour basic SAR academy Survival and Improvisation Block training at Darien Lakes State Park yesterday afternoon and evening. Special thanks to Dan Human, Dan Perry and Ed Kaspereck for building and sharing their knowledge of emergency shelters, and also to Crew Bosses Gwen Macool, Jerry Sultz and Jamie Shanahan for leading three teams to practice trail map navigation to the three shelter sites. There was a lot of great winter outdoor SAR information available for team members and everyone enjoyed food and fellowship afterwards around a campfire.
Thanks to everyone who, over the last 4 months, expressed an interest in joining NFSAR. We have made our member candidate selections and are now waiting for everyone to get the last of their required medical and FEMA certifications completed. Our basic SAR training academy starts in January, and we are looking forward to welcoming new members into the team and beginning the SAR training process. See you all on January 12th!