More A&E Nostalgia

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, we published a link to part 1 of an old A&E special that highlighted our Unit. Although Part 2 is missing, here's part 3, 4, and 5.

Investigative Reports - Part 3
Investigative Reports - Part 4
Investigative Reports - Part 5

If you run across Part 2, let us know!

Have a Happy New Year!
Read more »

Echo Canyon Evacuation

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Today, seven Mountain Rescue volunteers and four officers responded to Echo Canyon, located near the Mt. Charleston lodge. The objective of the mission was to go door-to-door to determine which residents were still in their homes, which chose to stay, and which chose to evacuate.

The reason for the voluntary evacuation was the report of multiple slides in the area along with an avalanche warning that remains in effect. Rescuers climbed through 5-6 feet of snow to check each home, ultimately taking one man to an established emergency shelter. Rescue teams also helped residents retrieve medications and other personal supplies from their homes and checked in on one man who chose to stay in his residence. The door-to-door evacuation took about four hours.

Multiple news agencies were in the area covering the story. One of the stories can be found here.

Pictures of the day's events:

Read more »

31 Years of Service

Monday, December 20, 2010

Last week, a 31 year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department celebrated his retirement. While serving as a Police Officer for LVMPD, Sgt. Mike Petricka was a member of the specialized and highly acclaimed Canine and Air Support Units, ultimately serving as Chief Pilot for air patrol and search and rescue. Mike's unparalleled leadership and piloting skills left an unforgettable impression on anyone who had the pleasure of working with him.

It goes without saying that Mike will be sorely missed by all Officers and Volunteers that have worked with him over the years. We wish you the best in all that you do!
Read more »

From the Archives - A&E Investigative Report

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A number of years ago, A&E aired an investigative reports special on our Unit. Although personnel and equipment has changed, one thing has remained the same - the dedication and passion of this Unit is insurmountable.

Enjoy the footage!
Read more »

2010 Year in Pictures

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Colorado River - Air Search

Mt. Charleston - Fastrope Training

Red Rock - 800' Lower

Hangar - Medical Training

Middle of Nowhere - Land Navigation / Patient carry-out

Mt. Charleston - Fire

Mt. Charleston - Search / Canine Huey Insertion

Lake Mead - Huey Penetrator Training

To see more SAR pictures, visit our Flickr site.

Happy Holidays!
Read more »

Unit Overview

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A little taste of what we do:

Read more »

Thanksgiving Day Rescue - Update

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The 42-year-old female climber that was rescued on Thanksgiving Day was identified as Heather Gray of Vancouver, B.C. It is reported that Heather died on Monday.

LVMPDSAR sends its deepest condolences to friends and family.

An article outlining the latest news can be found here.
Read more »

Thanksgiving Day Rescue

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Thursday afternoon, Mountain Rescue Volunteers were called to the Red Rock Canyon Overlook in response to initial reports of a fallen climber in Oak Creek Canyon.

Two SAR Officers were flown to the scene and were hoisted to a ledge approximately 400 feet off of the canyon floor. From there, the Officers extracted the 42 year old climber from a crack where she had landed after falling what was estimated to be 45-50 feet. The climber was hoisted out of the canyon and delivered to flight, who transported the victim to the hospital.

The female climber had been climbing with a friend and suffered from multiple skull fractures, cervical fractures, and massive brain swelling as a result of the fall. Rescue personnel took less than an hour to respond and extract the injured climber from the the area that she was located.

News Channel 13 was on scene. Their report of the incident can be found here.
Read more »

Snow and Freezing Temperatures are Here!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If you haven't dusted off your winter gear yet, this weekend is the time to start unpacking!

Five reasons why this is a task that you should accomplish this Holiday weekend:
  1. This morning, many people reported snow flurries in various parts of the Las Vegas Valley.
  2. Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing tonight.
  3. The Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort is scheduled to open this Friday, November 26th.
  4. Last weekend it snowed on the Mountain Rescue Team during training.
  5. You'll need something to do after eating all of that turkey!
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend!
Read more »

2010 Mountain Rescue Basic's Class

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Congratulations to this year's Mountain Rescue Basic's class. Thirteen people finished the class strong last weekend in cold weather, wind, and even snow! A great time was had by all and we look forward to including this group in our volunteer program.
Read more »

Human Remains found in Red Rock

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Last week, SAR officers responded to Black Velvet Canyon in Red Rock where human remains were discovered by multiple hikers.

See news reports here.

The investigation is currently ongoing.
Read more »

Busy Weekend at Red Rock and Mt. Charleston

Monday, November 8, 2010
With temperatures lingering in the low to mid 80's, outdoor enthusiasts headed for the hills to enjoy the wonderful weather this past weekend. The 13-mile loop that provides access to all that the Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area has to offer was packed with cars and people.

Basic's Class

Saturday morning started out with the Basic's Class at Red Springs. For the past month or so, the class has spent numerous hours learning and practicing rescue techniques in the classroom and on the tower. It was time to remove the class members from the controlled environment and plant them in an area that we conduct a large majority of our rescues. The class practiced raising and lowering with a loaded litter as well as passing a knot on rappel. Here's a picture of class members setting up an anchor system:

Mt. Charleston

At about 1:00 in the afternoon, the Mountain Rescue Team received its first call of the day. It was reported that a hiker was lost after leaving a marked trail at Mt. Charleston. Two SAR Officers and one Mountain Rescue volunteer boarded the Huey from Red Springs and headed to Mt. Charleston. The male hiker was found, and with the help of rescue personnel, was hoisted out by helicopter. He was uninjured.

Red Rock Canyon - Olive Oil

On Saturday night at 10:30pm, the Mountain Rescue volunteers were called out to Red Rock Canyon. Three climbers, two of which were in their late 60's, were caught in bad weather while climbing Olive Oil. Although all 3 climbers were uninjured, one climber was suffering from flu-like symptoms, which had caused their initial delay. With approximately 300 feet left to climb, the climbers chose to hunker down on a well-defined ledge to protect themselves from the storm. They were fortunate to be able to make a call for help using their cell phone.

By 11:30pm, the rain and wind storm began clearing up. Four volunteers and five SAR Officers were transported to the top of Olive Oil by helicopter where the team set up technical rescue systems. One rescuer was lowered to the victims where they were medically assessed. The climbers were raised to the top of the climb one by one and were extracted by helicopter. The climber that was experiencing flu-like symptoms was transported by ambulance to the hospital while the two remaining climbers were able to drive home on their own. The entire rescue took about 5 hours to accomplish with rescue personnel leaving Red Rock at 3:30am.

Read more »

Got Gore-Tex?

Monday, November 1, 2010
The weather is starting to cool down (finally) in the Las Vegas Valley. This means that it's time to start pulling out your winter gear. For most desert dwellers, those Gore-Tex jackets spend most of their time stuffed away in a closet somewhere. On the rare occasion that they're actually pulled out to do their job, most owners will find that their outer wear isn't doing what it's supposed to do. Why isn't the Gore-Tex jacket that you've owned for 10 years no longer keeping you dry?

Most people would do the next most sensible thing - go out and buy a new jacket. And hey, why not?

I know that I'm about to squash your reasoning for buying the latest and greatest jacket, but the truth is that Gore-Tex is actually a type of fabric. Over time, those Gore-Tex fibers are compromised. Not on purpose, but just from normal wear and tear. It's really easy to restore the fibers so that they go back to protecting you from the elements - just wash your garments using powdered detergent and throw them in the dryer under medium heat. The time spent in the washer will clean the dirt and grime from your jacket while the heat from the dryer repairs those compromised fibers. Ironing your garments using medium heat also works! So, if you find that your Gore-Tex garments aren't doing the trick any more, try these simple steps to keep yourself dry during those cold and wet days spent in the desert.

For more specific information about how to care for your outdoor apparel, visit the Gore-Tex Care Center.
Read more »

Short Haul & Fast Rope Training

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Every year, the Mountain Rescue Team along with the Air Unit take to the skies to practice short haul and fast rope techniques. Since everything that these Units do take practice, this session serves as an annual certification to all Officers, Pilots and Volunteers.

This year, Hau Ngo came out to photograph the events of the day. View the entire set here.
Read more »

A Flash Flood Safety Reminder

Thursday, October 21, 2010
It's been an incredible week in the Las Vegas Valley for rain and thunderstorms, which makes this the perfect time of year to read all about flash floods and keeping yourself safe. These types of storms are common in the desert in and around our City, so if you hear of flash flood warnings in the area, be cautious. The best thing to do is to stay in doors.

Here's an article from 2003 of a rescue that our Unit performed during a flash flood storm. Our rescue personnel and helicopters plucked numerous people from the top of their cars, including a Las Vegas Firetruck, as flood waters consumed their vehicles. Don't let this happen to you!
Read more »

Basic's Class in Full Swing

Saturday, October 2, 2010
This year's Mountain Rescue Basic's class is in full swing! Fourteen people were selected out of our initial interview process to attend this class, which will run until the end of November. Future volunteers will be selected from the participants who successfully complete the class.

During the Basic's class, attendees learn fundamental mountain rescue techniques that are used by the Unit to conduct its missions. The first is being able to physically do the job. Here's the class participating in a PT session.

Once PT is complete, the class typically hits the classroom where they are exposed to the lesson of the day.

After a specific topic is covered, attendees head outside where they have the opportunity to learn hands-on techniques. In this picture, the group is building an anchor system:

And finally, the reward. Here's a picture of one of the class members rappelling off of the tower.

So far, the class has learned how to tie essential knots, including the water knot and the family of figure-8's. Class members have also been exposed to the rescue equipment that is used by the Unit, anchor systems, raising and lowering systems, and have had the opportunity to rappel using both low and high anchor points.
Read more »

Missing Teen Hiker Found

Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This morning the body of missing Henderson hiker, Shane McNeil, was found near Boy Scout Canyon, located south of the Hoover Dam.

The Search and Rescue Command Post was staged near the Lake Mead Marina. Searchers covered hundreds of miles of rugged terrain by land, water, and air, including all canyons and areas located both west and east of the Colorado River.

LVMPDSAR would like to thank the National Park Service as well as all search participants for their tireless effort the past 3 days.

Click here for the latest news and video coverage.
Read more »

Search for Missing Teen

Monday, September 27, 2010
The Mountain Rescue Team was called out early Sunday morning to help search for a missing Henderson Teen. The teen, who had plans to hike from Henderson to the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam, was last heard from at 7:00pm Saturday night. As of today, the search continues.

News coverage of the search can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

Read more »

Guide Line Training

Monday, September 20, 2010

Guide lines are a useful tool to use when there is a need to move an object from a high point to a low point while avoiding multiple obstacles. Last weekend, the Mountain Rescue team headed to Willow Springs to practice using a guide line to lower a Rescuer and patient from a high point to a low point.

Here's a shot of the team setting up the high-point systems:

Rescuers placing a victim into the litter and attaching to the main and belay. Once the Rescuer and victim are securely in the system, they will be attached to the guide line (white rope):

Rescuer moving the patient over the edge with the help of an edge person:
Continuing to move the patient over the edge:

The Rescuer and victim have transitioned the edge. The guide line is the white rope running from the high point to the low point. In this case, the anchor used as the low point is a Unit truck.

After multiple evolutions using and fine-tuning the guide line application, the team hiked the White Rock Loop, a 6.5 mile hike that begins and ends in Willow Springs. It was a perfect day to be outside!
Read more »

Two New Rescue Pilots!

Thursday, September 16, 2010
It takes thousands of hours of flight time and hundreds hours of training missions to become a rescue pilot with LVMPDSAR. This week, two pilots successfully completed their final night-time operation missions in order to make it official. Congratulations to our two new rescue pilots!

Read more »

2010 Mountain Rescue Recruitment

Sunday, September 12, 2010
The 2010 Mountain Rescue Recruitment started out with a bang yesterday! We had numerous people come out, run our physical assessment course, and participate in our interview process.

We'd like to thank each and every one of you that submitted an interest form and participated in the first step of our recruitment efforts. Everyone came out and gave 100%, which we love to see!

This year, we received nearly 75 applications and are in the process of choosing around 15 people to attend our Basics course, which will teach each student basic mountain rescue and technical rope rescue techniques that are used by our Unit. This competitive process potentially gives each class attendee the opportunity to become a member of our Mountain Rescue Unit. Without your interest and dedication, we wouldn't be able to fill open positions, so thank you again! We look forward to an exciting recruitment season!
Read more »

Helicopters Need Rest, Too

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Here's a shot of the mural that's painted on the floor of our hangar:

And here's a shot of our rescue helicopters at rest:

Here's to hoping that the high's we experienced over Labor Day Weekend have come to an end for the Season!
Read more »

Have a Fun and Safe Labor Day Weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010
An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for the Las Vegas Valley this weekend. Continue to prepare for hotter than normal temperatures and stay hydrated!

LVMPDSAR would like to wish everyone a fun and safe Labor Day weekend!
Read more »

Rescues at Red Rock and Mt. Charleston

Monday, August 23, 2010
Last Thursday evening, the Mountain Rescue Team was called out to Red Rock Canyon. A hiker had found himself lodged in a crack with no way of climbing up or down. Rescuers were inserted above the stuck hiker where anchor systems were set up. One rescuer was lowered to the victim, a harness was placed on the victim to secure them into the system, and the rescuer and victim were both lowered to the ground. The victim suffered no injuries and was extracted via helicopter.

Yesterday, a call came in from a hiker who had found himself lost while hiking the Loop Trail at Mt. Charleston. Instead of staying on the loop trail, the hiker inadvertently veered onto the Griffith Peak Trail, ultimately finding himself on the Harris Saddle Trail located in Lovell Canyon. The lost hiker, after running out of water and food, was able to get cell phone reception and call for help.

The Huey, along with one LVMPDSAR Officer and two Mountain Rescue volunteers, flew to the area to locate the hiker. Unfortunately, high winds prevented the Huey from being able to perform hoist operations, so the three rescuers were inserted about 3 miles from the hiker. Rescuers hiked in, located the hiker, and walked him to Harris Springs Rd. where all members were driven out by a Resident Officer.
Read more »

Big Wall Training

On Saturday, the Mountain Rescue team was inserted via fast-rope into an area located North of Pine Creek in Red Rock Canyon for this month's weekend training mission. The scenario consisted of reports from a climber who was able to get cell phone reception and call for help. His climbing partner had fallen and had been injured in the process.

As Mountain Rescue volunteers arrived, anchor systems were set up and a plan was put in motion. The scenario included a lower of about 800 feet that would place the rescuers at the location of the patient. After systems were set up, two rescuers were lowered along with the litter and medical pack that would help them provide patient care.

Here's a picture of two rescuers being lowered to the patient:

Rescuers nearing the bottom of the descent:

Rescuers providing patient care:

Because initial reports were so vague, the rescuers discovered that the climber had fallen about 60 feet, suffering from wounds to the face, lower right arm, and right femur. Rescuers addressed each of the injuries and packaged the patient.

Rescuer starting an IV:

The patient was extracted by hoist to complete the training mission.
Read more »

Successful Orientation

Saturday, August 14, 2010
2010 Recruitment is in full swing! Sixty-one people showed up to our orientation session today. After a Unit overview, a preview of what this year's Mountain Rescue Class itinerary and schedule will be, a question and answer session, and a tour of the hangar, 53 of those people who showed up today expressed interest in moving on with the process. This type of interest is very exciting! LVMPDSAR would like to thank everyone who attended today's session!

The Mountain Rescue Unit typically consists of 20-30 volunteers, depending on need. With these types of numbers, it makes for a fairly competitive recruitment process. Next steps are to conduct interview sessions and a physical fitness test. Out of the 53 people who go through this process, about 20 are chosen to attend our Basics Training Class.

The LVMPDSAR Basics Class lasts about two months and doesn't require previous mountain rescue knowledge or experience. People who are invited to attend this class are taught basic mountain rescue techniques and are required to display appropriate physical fitness standards. Although all invited members go through the entire class, it does not guarantee anyone a position on the Volunteer Unit. Once the class is complete, LVMPDSAR officers and volunteers choose who they feel will be a good fit for the team.

If you missed this year's recruitment, feel free to submit your interest at any time. We will contact you as soon as recruitment opens again in the future.
Read more »

Volunteers Come In All Sizes

Thursday, August 12, 2010
All members of the Mountain Rescue Team are required to obtain an EMT-Basic Certification at a minimum. In order to maintain this certification, the team conducts continuing education sessions throughout the year. Last night we had a special visitor come in to help the team practice providing medical care to patients that we seldom see - Children.

Here's a picture of one of our SAR Officers demonstrating a primary assessment.

This is the team in action, practicing a patient scenario. Rescuers waited outside while Officers staged the patient and environment. In order to simulate a real-life scenario, Officers turned out the lights and pumped smoke into the room to emulate a night-time storm. Rescuers, without knowing what to expect, entered the room and treated the patient as if it were real.

Miller Board practice.

And finally, a picture of the team with a potential future volunteer!

Read more »

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010
We would like to take a brief moment to thank all of those individuals that expressed interested in joining our Unit! We received numerous submissions from various people in the Las Vegas community and appreciate everyone's willingness and desire to help make a difference. This year's recruitment effort is sure to be a great success!

As a general rule, the LVMPDSAR Unit recruits once every 12 to 24 months, based on need. We retain all submitted interest forms and contact those individuals once the selection process opens again. So, all of you who missed this year's deadline, don't hesitate to submit your interest form at any time. We'll contact you the next time the recruitment process begins!
Read more »

Recruitment Deadline Fast Approaching

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This Sunday is the deadline to submit interest for the 2010 recruitment with the Mountain Rescue Team. Complete the form online here!
Read more »

Land Navigation

Monday, July 26, 2010
Every month, the LVMPDSAR Mountain Rescue team participates in two training sessions. One session occurs on a weekday night and the other session occurs on a weekend day. We train often for a number of reasons, but primarily because we thrive to be over prepared for any situation that we are called upon to help with and because just like most things in life, if you don't use it, you lose it.

Because of the technology that is available today, all of our team members carry GPS devices and utilize other battery-powered gadgets to determine location, elevation, slope, weather, and any other type of environmental information that you can think of. All of these devices are extremely accurate and helpful, however, what if our team was put in a situation where all of those luxuries were missing? What would we do if those devices failed to work or if the batteries ran out?

As a result of the worst-case-scenario train of thought, our team went back to the basics in this weekend's training session, put our electronic equipment away, and pulled out our maps & compass. Our scenario was an airplane crash where teams of 5 were picked up by the Huey and inserted to an unspecified location via fast-rope. Each team was given a map, coordinates of the location of the plane crash, and were instructed to bring enough food and water to be able to withstand a day in the 111 degree desert heat.

Each team was inserted into a unique location where they were required to decipher their whereabouts using surrounding terrain and map association. From there, each team determined the best route to take in order to get to the location of the plane crash. As each team navigated their way to the crash site, two victims were discovered. Both had sustained injuries from the crash. Here's a picture of the first victim as volunteers began medical and eventually packaged the patient for extraction.

If you look at the picture above, you will notice that there is a road in the distance. Once both of the patients were located and medically treated, the team extracted the patients, ultimately carrying them to the road that is seen in the picture.

As the team approached the road, the Huey was called in to extract both patients and rescue team members. In the picture below, the Huey has located the team and is looking for the best landing zone (LZ).

Once the Huey landed in the LZ, Rescuers continued to carry the patients to the helicopter. Once the patients were extracted, the rest of the team was extracted.

In its entirety, the training session took a little over 5 hours to complete. Each team successfully fast roped into an unspecified location, determined their starting point, located the crash site, conducted appropriate medical treatment to each patient, and extracted both patients and team members to wrap up the day. All of this without the use of electronic equipment of any kind!
Read more »

Recruitment Submission Deadline is Sunday, August 8th

Friday, July 23, 2010
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer for our Mountain Rescue team, the cut-off date for this year's recruitment is Sunday, August 8th.

Visit our recruitment page for more information on how to become a volunteer and to fill out an interest form.
Read more »

Survival Information

Thursday, July 22, 2010
Here are some survival tips to help you prepare for spending time outside. What's the main motto here? BE PREPARED!

Don't forget to hydrate often during these hot, summer months!
Read more »

Excessive Heat Warning in Effect through Saturday

Thursday, July 15, 2010
An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for the Las Vegas Valley. Temperatures are expected to reach 112 to 115 degrees from now until Saturday evening.

If you have plans to spend time outdoors, take the time to prepare yourself or make new arrangements.

Drink plenty of fluids!

Read more »

One Mile South of Willow Beach

Monday, July 5, 2010
The body of the drowning victim was found one mile south of Willow beach late last week. The story, reported by the LVRJ, can be found here.

If you missed the original blog post containing details of this search, click here!
Read more »

Mt. Charleston Fire

Saturday, July 3, 2010
On July 1st, a fire broke out near the Mt. Charleston lodge in Kyle Canyon, located just outside of the Las Vegas Valley. In the event that the fire spread to areas where campers or hikers were located, LVMPDSAR launched a support team containing the Huey, SAR officers, and volunteers. Because the fire department was able to contain the fire, rescue efforts were not needed.

View of the fire from the cockpit of the Huey:

Fire from the air:

Spot fire:

Read more »