Team Functions

A SAR field team is never a single person, for obvious safety reasons. Depending on the task assignment and field conditions, a team may vary from two to as many as twenty or more. It is useful to think about the duties that must be covered on a field team:

1. Leadership – provided by a field team leader (or mission team leader), or a person who is "field-promoted" to perform that role (always taking care that he or she is qualified to take it on safely). (There may also be an assistant team leader, especially when the size of the team is larger than five or six.) The FTL interprets the task, briefs and debriefs the team (unless a briefing officer at Base can do this directly), manages their efforts, and ensures proper documentation and reporting.

2. Safety Supervision – another role of the FTL or, in some cases, the medical officer. This duty takes into account weather conditions, terrain, potential hazards and management of injuries or other medical concerns (such as exhaustion or hypothermia) among the members of the team.

3. Communications — radio operation is often a duty that can be assigned to another member of the team to free up the FTL. All comms, however, should be cleared with the FTL. Base will have specified check-in calls at regular intervals, and events in the field may indicate that other calls be made. The comms person should be prepared to give the team’s current coordinates at each new contact.

4. Recording — communications, movements, clue discovery and other notable events must be logged and recorded. This may be done by the comms person, or another team member. In encountering a scene, this person may take photographs, create sketches or interview persons.

5. Navigation — determining location and direction of travel may fall to the FTL, the assistant FTL, or some other FTM. (This may be one of the duties assigned to a ground searcher when flanking for a K9 team.) It is an essential function for the safety and efficiency of the team, as well as the effectiveness of the overall search.

6. Medical Supervision/Treatment – the medic is usually the person with the highest level of wilderness medical training. Their duties include patient assessment, triage, treatment and supervision of the subject during evacuation. Their level of qualification determines what can be provided to the subject (or another team member) in an austere environment. Others may assist in managing medical equipment, and carrying out the medic’s interventions.

7. Rescue/Evacuation – a person other than the FTL of the find-team may be assigned the role of coordinating what must be done to extract the subject, especially if the individual is Status Two, and there are technical challenges to be met. The Rescue On-Scene Coordinator, or ROC, supervises litter wrapping, evacuation route planning, and BUD-DUB or vertical movement.

8. Base Officer – where there must be extensive interaction between a field team and Base operations, it may be useful for the team itself to have a representative at Base, who can help coordinate provision of extra resources, consultation with Mission Command, etc.

As you can see, if the team is only three persons, each may wear several hats. If the team is large (such as in a close-grid sweep task), some duties will be performed by multiple persons. Each one of the SAR personnel ought to train in as many of these duties as possible, in order that he or she might be able to assume them, as circumstances require

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Spending a night in the wilderness

So you are about to camp out. This may be planned or unplanned depending on how you day has gone. Hopefully you have given yourself some good options – because there are many ways to sleep in the woods.

If you have a choice, you should always find somewhere safe, warm/cool enough and comfortable. Circumstances, though, may make this difficult. Let’s start with the minimum needed for survival and progress toward (relative) luxury.

Basic: You can extend your period of survival if you have a heavy-duty (contractor strength) garbage bag in your pack. It can serve as a poncho, vapor-barrier (under you), or cover (over you); filled with leaves and such, it can provide insulation and/or become a mattress. Like a trash bag, other basic gear includes a one-use space blanket (mylar sheet), multi-use space blanket (stronger and less apt to puncture or tear), tarp, ground cloth or blanket. (Mylar is the weight-to-warmth winner, as it reflects your body-heat, rather than absorbing it, plus it is waterproof.)

One step up: Even in fairly cold environments, one can survive (and even sleep) in a simple shelter. MSAR requires knowledge of two types to be qualified to respond to searches: the debris shelter (made entirely of materials found in the woods + a space blanket), and the tarp shelter (using a tarp large enough to make a canopy over your sleeping bag or bivy sac). (Historically about 90% of all MSAR camping occurs in either a debris shelter or a tarp shelter)

One-and-a-half steps up: A hammock will get you off the cold, damp ground and away from most of the crawly things. You can also rig a tarp canopy, if rain threatens. However, some folks have difficulty sleeping in hammocks – so try it out (in different weather conditions/temperatures) before you get on trail (and have a back-up plan if you can’t find the right trees to make it work).

Two steps up: Various types of tents can be used, balancing features and durability against their carry-weight and cost.

All the way up: Campers and RV’s provide maximum protection from the elements, from critters and from other people, but are obviously much more expensive and cumbersome than the preceding methods, especially in rough, over-grown terrain — they only get you to the trailhead.

Site choice: Ideally, your campsite will have many of the following attributes:

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SAR considerations for people with dementia.

There are groups that are more prone, or at risk, to being lost and involved with Search and Rescue than others. Some of the traditional SAR subjects include…

  • A child who wanders away from their home and gets lost
  • People who spend time in the outdoors (such as hikers, ginseng-ers, and hunters) who get turned around / get in over their heads, or get injured
  • People with dementia

People with dementia pose an interesting challenge to searchers. The classic scenario involves an older adult who walks away from their home and continues to walk until they physically cannot go any further. When searching for these people, it is important to consider every possible location, to include giant thorny briar patches that would seem unlikely for anyone to ever enter. It is quite possible that the person you seek walked into those thorns, became tangled, and will need your help to escape.

If you are a loved one and/or caregiver for someone who has tendencies to wander, consider actions that you can take to make locating them easier for responders. Such keeping up to date photos that show their face, general appearance, their shoes, the tread of their shoes, and objects that they typically have on their person such as cigarettes and mobility tools.

Consider these things in addition to the following text that was contributed by Max Gottlieb, who contacted MSAR with the hopes that he could provide information on people with dementia. MSAR has no ties to Gottlieb or any business that he represents, but he does offer good information that could serve as a starting point for augmenting care for someone you love.

Why do people with dementia wander and how can we prevent this?

Not every senior is at risk of wandering, but if your loved one or someone you are caring for has autism, Down syndrome, has had a stroke, or suffers from dementia; the threat of losing the person is very real and can become incredibly stressful. In this article I’m going to talk mainly about seniors, but the same prevention tips can be applied to anyone at risk of getting lost. With dementia, there are three main reasons that people tend to wander.

  1. Confusion
    People with dementia can become confused and easily disoriented about their location, sometimes even getting lost in their own community. Take note of the time when confusion occurs because if you notice more confusion or disorientation occurring at night time, then the person may be affected by what is called sundowner’s syndrome. If you know your family member is easily confused it’s best not to leave them alone for long periods of time. Although confusion does not necessarily equate to wandering, it is helpful to enroll the person in a local “Silver Alert” program if you are becoming increasingly worried. A silver alert functions much the same way as an “Amber Alert” if the senior does become lost.
  1. Compulsion
    We’re all familiar with compulsion to some degree, but dementia related disorders can prompt sufferers to feel the need to go someplace else. Sometimes they may feel they need to go to work, or maybe they do not know where their destination is or why they want to go there, but the urge to go is so strong they sometimes just leave. Caregivers sometimes use a technique called redirection, which distracts the patient when they are stuck in a compulsive mood.
  1. The Sensation of needing to go Home
    Sometimes, seniors suffering Alzheimer’s or a related disease will stop feeling at home, even if they’ve lived in the same house for years. They may feel their previous home or even a childhood home is the place they truly belong. This happens with dead relatives as well, forgetting they’ve passed away and claiming they’re going to go see them. Again, caregivers can use the redirection technique and instead of telling the patient that they are home or that the person they are looking for is no longer alive, a caregiver can instead say “we’ll go there later” or “she’ll be coming by soon.” This causes the elderly person to temporarily lose the desire to leave. People that fit into this category often require specific memory care homes because if they are attempting to leave often, they cannot be left alone at all.

As mentioned above, enrolling someone in a silver alert program puts them into a database where the data can then be sent to local police stations or broadcasted to the public. In Phoenix, for example, silver alerts are broadcasted onto official highway message signs. Not every state offers the option for this type of program, but if offered, it is definitely an advantage.

Beyond silver alerts, there are new technologies constantly emerging to help wanderers return home faster. There are bracelets, tennis shoes, long range medical alert necklaces, etc. that all have GPS tracking devices in them. These technologies are not to replace actual human monitoring, but can provide a little bit of extra help in the worst case scenario of someone getting lost. Unfortunately, seniors can remove these devices or something dangerous may occur before they were found, so no device can replace supervision. Constant supervision is a must for someone who is at high-risk of wandering. If you are living with the person, it is useful to get doors and windows that signal when they are opened. It’s also a good idea to place locks outside, out of sight. Always keep car keys inaccessible as a wandering senior is not only a danger to themselves while driving, but to others as well.

Of course, people cannot be watched every moment of the day, but if you plan ahead, a catastrophe can hopefully be avoided.

  1. Make sure the person always has an ID on them or purchase a metal, medical-style bracelet with contact information that is unable to be taken off.
  2. If you and the senior in question are going out for the day, make sure they wear clearly visible clothing to ensure they do not get lost in a crowd if you happen to turn around for a second.
  3. Try to figure out the times that someone is most likely to wander and if possible, figure out the places they tend to gravitate towards.
  4. If the person wanders at night, make sure there is water next to their bed to prevent them from getting it themselves in the middle of the night. In addition, be sure that fluids have not been consumed for at least two hours prior to bedtime to avoid late night bathroom trips, leading to disorientation. If the senior naturally wakes up frequently, guarantee the house is well-lit, even at night.

In the case of someone becoming lost, only check in the immediate vicinity or known destinations for a short amount of time. If the person cannot be found contact 911 and tell them a vulnerable senior is missing and then continue the search yourself. Also, a missing persons report can be filed with the MedicAlert Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return program at 1-800-625-3780. Even if you are not caring for someone directly, if you see a senior who is alone and looks disoriented, ask them if they are alright and contact emergency services if you do not believe they are where they should be. Becoming more aware of wandering, whether it’s planning ahead, supervising someone, or simply asking a stranger if they are alright, can help prevent tragedies from occurring.

Max Gottlieb is the content editor at Senior Planning. Senior Planning offers a free service, helping seniors and their families navigate the complicated process of long term care planning, from finding assisted living to memory care facilities. Senior Planning is based out of Phoenix, Arizona.

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Searcher Interviews

Its been a while since I have posted to our blog, but I hope that this post will be helpful to you if you want to become a searcher with our team.

As you train to become qualified to search, lead search teams, and beyond, you will participate in interviews/discussions with other MSAR members.  We hope to use this dialogue to prepare you for the next steps within MSAR, improve our team, and help you grow in the Search and Rescue community.

There are many topics that might come up, but here are a few questions and comments to consider.

General Questions

  • Why do you want to do Search and Rescue?
  • Have you talked with boss/teachers/parents about searching/responding to searches?
  • What has been your biggest hurdle? What was the easiest?
  • What are you most excited/concerned about?
  • What questions do you have for us?
  • Searches can be upsetting.  How are you preparing?
  • What is the role of the CQ/FTM/FTL?

MSAR Questions

  • What brought you to join Maryland Search and Rescue?
  • What are your MSAR goals?
  • Are there any offices or responsibilities that you are interested in or would consider in the future?
  • What do you do outside of MSAR (or what are you studying in school) and how can that help our team?

Advancement

  • Do you have advice for people seeking your rank?
  • Do you have any advice on changes for the rank/program?
  • What can you do to help others reach your training level?
  • You have met the requirements for a new training level and we may look to you to help train others – What areas can you assist with? What topics are you most comfortable with?

Recruiting

  • How will you/can we make MSAR more inviting?
  • What have you done? What can you do?

Advice/Thoughts

  • Relax! While this is required – it is not something to get worked up about.
  • Watch out for field promotions!  Make sure you do not go beyond training/comfort levels!
  • Make sure that you are on our call out lists!
  • Know and share your limits – physically/emotionally/etc – and adjust your search participation.
  • Adults – Don’t dominate meetings. Give our youth a chance to talk, to do skills or teach first.
  • Youth – We need your parent/guardians support.  If they are not already involved how can you get them involved?

Thanks and Good Luck!

Posted in New Member, SAR Training

Search and Rescue Dogs, Horses and Iguanas

As a traditional "ground team" Maryland Search and Rescue does not directly work with or rely on SAR dogs / K9s, or require members to have a search dog.

If an MSAR member is interested, they will have opportunities to work with dogs and dog handlers on search missions and simulations. Within MSAR, there are members who have joined multiple teams, including dog and mounted/horse teams.

If you are interested in training a dog or horse for SAR, there are many great teams in and around Maryland. A simple Google search like "maryland sar/horse dog team" will help you locate a nearby team.

Having been the MSAR website contact person for many years, I have been asked many dog related questions, and a few people even looked to donate or sell a puppy to our team. SAR dogs are pretty cool, can be an amazing resource, and they look great on TV… But MSAR will remain focused on training SAR people.

If you are interested in SAR dogs you can skip the following rant…
Dog teams are great, but their greatness can be blown out of proportion. SAR dogs are more exciting to look at than a search team of 8 dudes walking through the woods, so they get top billing in the news and as a result they are put on a pedestal.

Yes, they make finds… but they are also often one of the first trained search teams to be sent out. They are sent out first because of their potential limitations, like other specialized resources (like trackers and sign cutters) marching a search team through an area can destroy certain types of clues.
Ideally search managers will have access to a variety of SAR resources and use them to their advantage, but don’t discount the human searcher. We might not be as interesting to look at, but without us… that SAR dog is just a stray.

Canine Search & Rescue

The following has been adapted from Vicki Wooters, K-9 Handler, Search and Rescue Dogs of PA, "Search and Rescue Dogs-Which Dog Does Which Task?" in January/March 2006 issue of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue. [The original article includes reference notes.]

Tasks. SAR dogs have been used to find people dead or alive after calamities like earthquakes, avalanches, tornadoes, hurricanes, bombings, and floods. Some find missing people; police use others to track criminals.

Dogs and handlers must work well together — which requires a relationship based on trust. The handlers must know when the dogs are too tired to continue and must reward the dogs with kind words or pats, even when the search must be given up or the result ends with finding human remains.

These are the types of dogs MSAR is likely to see or work with:

1. A trailing (ground-scent) dog (Nose down) must be able to discriminate scents. These are the dogs, like bloodhounds, that can smell an article of clothing and track it to the missing person. The dog must be able to track someone from the point-last-seen (PLS) to the missing person. The dog cannot be thrown off by contamination. He may use ground or air smells over all kinds of surfaces. Some dogs are trained for urban work – pavement and streets — while others work in wilderness areas. These dogs usually work on leash and in a harness.
2. Air-scenting dogs (Nose up) are good for searches when there is no scent article and no PLS. They must locate everyone within a certain sector. They do not need to discriminate scent; just find all humans in an area where the target was last seen, in areas of high probability. They usually work off leash and perpendicular to the wind.

3. Cadaver dogs should be able to find bodies above and below ground, but some train for above ground only. They are non-scent discriminating dogs that must pass tests to detect tiny pieces of cadavers that have been buried for long amounts of time.4. A disaster dog finds human scent in unnatural environments like the aftermath of tornadoes and earthquakes. These dogs are non-scent discriminating and must be trained to work on unstable footing and in small, confined spaces. They must be agile, obedient, and have lots of stamina. They must be able to follow directional commands and give alerts over long periods of time.
4. A tracking dog must be able to follow the path of a particular person while on harness and leash. This is valuable when a dog is following the most recent scent of "crushed vegetation," as when tracking a criminal. A few dogs can do this on pavement, but most are not trained to discriminate when the area is cross-contaminated. These dogs can follow a trail when no scent article is available. Some tracking dogs work in teams with police or someone with firearms. If a SAR team does not have police training, they usually do not get involved with tracking down felons.

These dogs are less likely to be seen by MSAR:

Water recovery dogs usually work in boats and must be able to alert when they detect a body in moving currents and general water changes. They are non-scent discriminating.
Avalanche dogs can find humans buried in snow — beyond the duties of a regular SAR dog, avalanche dogs must learn to adapt and ride on ski lifts and in helicopters.

Detector dogscan track particular scents like narcotics and explosives (in a criminal search, these factors may be relevant in finding the subject).

Tracking a lost child or someone with Alzheimer’s, lost hikers, and overdue fishermen or hunters usually leads to a live find, which is very rewarding to all involved. However, looking for survivors after a bombing, like that of Oklahoma City, where no survivors were found, can defeat both the dogs and handlers. Many handlers become physically and emotionally exhausted and pass their feelings onto the dogs, which are often retired after a calamity.

Evaluation standards. Dogs must have a certain type of temperament; they must have great stamina and basic obedience. SAR dogs must be non-aggressive around other dogs and people. They must be able to focus on the assigned task and be under the handler’s control at all times.

Breeds. Which breeds make the best SAR dogs? Even mixed breeds can do well if they have the right temperament and are in peak physical condition. Bloodhounds are notorious for tracking ground scents; Labrador retrievers are wonderful as cadaver dogs because, as an Ohio SAR trainer and dog handler, Gina Flattery, says, "They love things that smell bad." Other good performers include German shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Golden Retrievers. A Kentucky SAR group uses Weimaraners, Smooth Collies and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Southern Ohio uses a Giant Schnauzer and Australian Shepherd, while a Virginia group uses several Border Collies and Australian Shepherds.

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Donate to MSAR just by shopping at Amazon.com

By clicking on this link, Maryland Search and Rescue Inc, a 501c3 non-profit, will receive 0.5% of all eligible AmazonSmile purchases. Go ahead and buy those hiking boots, a headlamp, a jacket, a compass… whatever… and know that you are supporting MSAR and its mission!

MSAR Inc

Thank you for your support!

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Knots!

Search and Rescue Knots

Knots are important for search and rescue because a good rope can be made to serve many purposes. Here are the ones that members are required to learn as a minimum body of knowledge

For Call-Out Qualified (CQ) Level:

Figure 8 – a single rope is knotted on itself to produce a figure that looks like a numeral 8; it is relatively easy to untie, yet stays secure under most conditions. http://www.animatedknots.com/fig8_/index.php?Categ=basics&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Figure 8 on a Bight – a Figure Eight is tied using a doubled rope (a bight), so that one end results in a loop instead of a single line; good for any situation that calls for a connection to be made (say, to a carabiner, post or other rope). In the end it looks just like a Figure 8 Follow-Through.

Figure 8 Follow-Through – Start by tying a loose Figure 8 knot. Pass the tail around the attachment point. Follow the original Figure 8 around the entire knot in reverse. Exit beside the standing end to complete a two stranded Figure 8 knot. http://www.animatedknots.com/fig8follow/index.php?Categ=climbing&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Tautline Hitch (or Midshipman’s Hitch) – relatively simple knot to use on a taut line, rod or post; good because it tends to bind and hold when pulled in a direction almost parallel to the larger line, but slide when pulled at a more perpendicular angle. http://www.animatedknots.com/rollinghitch/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com#midshipmans

Water Knot (also called Ring Bend) – Even simpler than the Figure-Eight-Follow-Through, this could be called an "Overhand-Follow-Through" – one line is tied in an overhand knot; the other traces those loops, coming from the opposite direction. Often done using tubular webbing (example: to fasten webbing to a Stokes litter rail). http://www.animatedknots.com/waterknot/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Note: most of the knots described here can be made more secure by the addition of a "stop" – a simple knot that holds down the loose extension/s of the lines used in the knots, preventing them from slipping back through the knot and coming apart. http://www.animatedknots.com/doubleoverhand/index.php?Categ=climbing&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

For Field Team Member Level:

Double Fisherman’s (or Grapevine Bend)– Two different knots are tied, in which line A is knotted onto Line B, then Line B is knotted onto Line A. The two act as a stop for each other (preventing the two lines from slipping apart), yet can be slid in the other direction easily; therefore, the size of the loop formed by the two can be adjusted to fit the usage. http://www.animatedknots.com/doublefishermans/index.php?Categ=climbing&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Square Knot – Like an overhand knot in which the second crossing of the two lines (or two ends of the same rope) is done in reverse direction; much more secure than an overhand knot (resists unraveling). http://www.animatedknots.com/reef/index.php?Categ=basics&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Girth Hitch – a loop of rope goes through something, comes back out and knots with itself; handy for securing a rope to a fixed ring or bracket, such as that which extends from the girth on a saddle (the band that goes under the horse’s belly), or for attaching a luggage tag to a bag handle. http://www.animatedknots.com/girth/index.php?Categ=rescue&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Prusik Knot (also called a Triple-Sliding Hitch) – Like a girth hitch that is repeated three or more times. The loops of the Prusik constrict when the knot is pulled from one side, but loosen when allowed to slide freely without a load. Its principle use is as a progress capture device (i.e., a way to prevent a line from "retreating" back in the direction from which came); this feature allows it to be used as a back-stop for a haul system, or as a means of climbing a vertical rope. This knot can be done with a continuous closed loop (like a rubber band or necklace), but in SAR is usually done with a length of rope, whose two ends have been tied in a Double Fisherman’s Knot to form a circle. http://www.animatedknots.com/prusik/index.php?Categ=rescue&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Bowline – knot used to make a strong, but easy-to-untie (when load is off) loop of virtually any size (Note: cannot be untied when under a load.) http://www.animatedknots.com/bowline/index.php?Categ=rescue&LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

Other knot knowledge will include: creating a climber’s harness out of rope or tubing, attaching a rope to various climbing devices, etc.

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Incident Command System

If you want to do Search and Rescue work, you need to be familiar with the the Incident Command System (ICS). Whether you are a volunteer SAR team member, a community member, or an emergency responder (like a police officer or firefighter) you have a place in ICS. The Incident Command System can be used for any incident regardless of type, scope, or complexity. It is used by all levels of government to facilitate work between responders, to use resources efficiently, and to achieve common goals.

Who is in charge in the ICS?
The Incident Commander. The Incident Commander is aided by their Incident Command Staff: Planning, Operations, Logistics, Finance and Administration. Depending on the incidents needs, the Incident Commander may work with a team or essentially hold all of the Incident Command Staff positions.

File:ICS Structure.PNG

Where do you fit in the ICS?
As a resource responding with MSAR, one might find themselves anywhere within the ICS system depending on your interests and skills. Most team members will seek their spot low within the Operations section as a member of a search team.

The Incident Command System makes responding to an emergency easier because of the following elements:

· Common Terminology (to avoid confusion and miscommunication)

· Established Command (agreed upon by all parties involved)

· Chain of Command (clear lines of direction and accountability)

· Unity of Command (single ultimate authority for the incident)

· Transfer of Command (orderly transitions if needs and circumstances change)

· Span of Control (manageable number of direct-reports for any supervisor)

· Management by Objectives (agreed-upon logic and prioritization to all activities)

· Incident Action Planning (standardized forms and protocols)

· Modular Organization (arranged by units and teams that can be deployed quickly)

· Comprehensive Resource Management (to make most efficient and effective use of materiel and personnel)

· Facilities & Locations Management

· Information & Intelligence Management

· Accountability

· Dispatch & Deployment Protocols

You can become more familiar with the Incident Command System and earn ICS certifications here:
http://www.fema.gov/incident-command-system

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Free Orienteering Courses

If you are interested in orienteering, or becoming more familiar with maps and compasses, an MSAR member is teaching four orienteering classes for Catoctin Mountain Park.

March 16, 22, 23, 29 @ 1 PM

Each class starts in the visitor center and ends with a practical map and compass exercise nearby. Depending on class size and participant interest, the course typically runs at least 2 hours.

Maps and Compasses are supplied but if you plan on participating in the practical orienteering exercise please dress for the weather and wear proper footwear for hiking off trail!

The class is free, all ages are welcome, but size is limited.

For reservations call the park visitor center : 301-663-9388

Catoctin Mountain Park

6602 Foxville Rd

Thurmont, MD 21788

See you there!

Posted in New Member, SAR Training, Upcoming Events | 1 Comment

Positive Mental Attitude

Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is a key element of survival and perhaps the only aspect of a survival situation that you have total control over. As opposed to survival elements that are out of your control: weather, availability of food and water, or even whether searchers are looking for you in the right area, you can however, control your frame of mind during your ordeal.

Maintaining a survivalist mindset won’t necessarily a simple task, but without it all the gear in the world won’t save you. If you give up in your mind, you won’t use your gear, you will take unnecessary risks, and you will not eat, drink, or take care of yourself. You can go for days without water and weeks without food… but you need the will to live!

Picture this: You have been on your own for 3 days. You are soaked through, cold, hungry, lonely, tired, scared… None of these things are easy to overcome on their own, let alone all at once. So, how exactly are you supposed to capture that positive attitude?

The best way to this is to use your training. Knowledge is king. The more you know, the higher your confidence, the less you will panic and the better outlook you will have on the situation.

S.T.O.P. (Stop, Think, Observe, Plan) Sit down and clear your mind. Take in your surroundings. Use what you have been taught to better your circumstances. Believe in yourself, your training and abilities. You can do this! You will live!

While you can’t control the weather, you can build yourself a shelter to get out of the elements. You can build a fire for warmth and to help keep the creepies at bay. These small successes will build on each other and help you to take as much control over your situation as possible. As you gain that control and confidence, your outlook will only improve.

Realistically speaking, most people will never be in a true wilderness survival situation, but it does happen (especially for people who don’t take extra precautions). If you do find yourself in any emergency situation, even if you don’t have all the right equipment, a prepared mind can overcome.

A positive mental attitude is not limited to surviving in the woods. Take every opportunity to learn something new. Have confidence in the things you do. Surround yourself with people who challenge and support you. Keep a positive mental attitude. After all, isn’t life really just one big survival situation?

Posted in Medical Training, New Member, SAR Training | Leave a comment