Ground Crew Safety Certification

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.

Newest members

Newest Members
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!

Christmas Luncheon

NFSARThanks 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!

Erie County State of Emergency

There is no place to go, so please stay off the roads in ‪#‎WinterStormKnife‬ affected areas.

A state of emergency is still in effect for Erie County, which includes a travel ban for the following municipalities: all areas of the City of Buffalo south of Genesee Street, the City of Lackawanna, the Town of Alden, Town of Aurora, Town of Hamburg, the Town of Cheektowaga, the Town of Lancaster. The Town of West Seneca, the Town of Elma, the Town of Marilla, The Town of Hamburg, the Town of Orchard Park, the Town of Brant, the Village of Alden, the Village of Sloan, the Village of Depew, the Village of Lancaster, the Village of Blasdell, the Village of Hamburg, the Village of East Aurora and the Village of Orchard Park. The only vehicles that are allowed to travel during this ban are emergency personnel.

High Peaks FamiliarizationTrip

High Peaks
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.

Board of Directors

Search & Rescue

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

Darien Lakes State Park

Thanks to the dedicated team members who came out to Darien Lakes State Park today for a NFSAR search exercise, especially to those who spent part of their day Friday on a search activation under similar conditions. Beautiful day but exhausting search conditions with 84F, humidity, lots of pollen, 5′ grass and thick undergrowth. It was a realistic training environment for our Trainees, everyone did an good job, and the food and camaraderie only added to the experience. We have a great team of dedicated, professional SAR volunteers!


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.



Member Candidate Selections

NFSAR Radios
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!