Monday, April 30, 2007

Search and Rescue Final Exam

This week was the final written exam for the Benton County Search and Rescue class on Thursday night.  It was a piece of cake and I scored a 95% on it.  On Saturday was our field practical evaluation.  We traveled to Starker forest at 6am and spent the morning conduction grid searches (I found a gun) while carrying a full daypack.  Then as we were eating lunch we were confronted by a full blown rescue scenario.  Todd (a CMRU member) came running down the forest road screaming bloody murder about his girlfriend and friend getting shot at or something.  We quickly mobilized, Nate Meehan assumed command of the rescue team and I took over responsibility of looking for the hurt girls.  We came across the first girl with "no pulse" written on her wrist and a mock bullet hole in her head.  I decided to move on with our real life EMT Gabe to check out the second girl who was found in a stream drainage with a compound fracture of her femur and heavy bleeding.  I held her hand, manned the radio, and coordinated a litter to be brought to the scene while Gabe administered first aide on her with his experience. We then packed her into the litter and carried  her out to the road where the scenario ended.  It was a great experience and I liked the fact that my ability to assess the situation correctly and lead properly was tested.  I think it went well and I definitely learned a lot.

We were set loose in the area at around 2pm to gather firewood and build a shelter for the night.  OvernighterIt was great weather so I didn't bother too much with an elaborate shelter and focused instead on gathering wood quickly. In the process I came across a huge skull with a bullet hole through the brain that looked like it must have been a
huge horse, elk, or perhaps cow.  I hung it at my site for kicks.  I then settled with with 4 cans of Starbucks double-shot espresso and my Geophysics book to study.  I easily got my fire blazing with plenty of wood and was able to study until about 3am when I just couldn't hold my eyes open any longer and fell asleep. 

In the morning the Benton county Posse (horse people) made us a huge breakfast of pancakes, eggs, ham, etc which was terrific seeing that I was then running on about 5 hours of sleep for the prior 48.  We talked about our experience, packed up all the trucks, signed out of the search scenario and headed back to the Public Works area to wash vehicles and put gear away.  We all had officially passed.  I then spent the afternoon on Sunday taking naps and trying to get work done for this week.  The SAR course was amazing and I learned a lot but thankfully it is over with because it took up a lot of my time and killed my weekends for nearly two months.  Once I get through my 80-hour Wilderness First Responder Course over the next two weeks I'll be fully certified with CMRU and will have spent over 250 hours of volunteer time with the organization since the 1st of this year, nearly double the annual time commitment expected in the first 5 months!!!

Here is an article on us... (click me)


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