Discussion of medical or rescue topics related to climbing and mountaineering.
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Re: Rescues

by mroutdoorsman » Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:01 am

I work as both a volunteer K9 SAR handler/rescue technician and AEMT here in WA. I have experience with how many counties here in WA operate their SAR programs and there are some pretty drastic differences in WA alone from county to county. Jurisdiction and command are very interesting and often complicated here in WA as a majority of the rescues end up going through WA State Department of Emergency Management to get another counties SAR team to handle a rescue in another county. A lot of counties in WA do not have well established SAR teams and often there are not enough SAR volunteers available to handle a rescue within their own county. A lot of this comes down to time and availability. Another thing I have noticed is a VERY large amount of the individuals on the SAR teams and working K9 SAR typically on the older side of the spectrum, very set in their ways, not willing to change methods and don't generally work well with others. A lot of these individuals seem to be retired or near retirement, which give them a lot more time to respond than others. Here in WA as helicopter rescue goes there are very few hoist equipped helicopters within the private sector (Airlift Northwest, Lifeflight, etc..) and hoist operations generally fall under the USCG or US Navy (Out of NAS Whidbey).

As far as the rescues themselves go it seems there are a lot more body recoveries that take place than rescuing live subjects. I know a majority of the WA mountain rescue "rescues" end up being body recoveries.

In my opinion I believe that there should be a larger presence of State government funded SAR organizations instead of the current volunteer system OR a large revamp of the current volunteer system. I also believe a larger amount of EMT/Medics/FF/LEO should be cross trained in SAR to a higher level of training. The amount of time it generally takes a SAR team to respond and the process required to activate a volunteer SAR team can be and I believe very often is the cause of death in people needing to be rescued in those that actually need the rescue. It seems there is a pretty big gap between those rescued as the subjects are either doing fine and really don't need rescue OR by the time you locate them are too far gone to save and die before rescued or before they even reach the hospital.
"Šso others may live."


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