Recruitment is OPEN!

Monday, April 25, 2011

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer for our Unit, now is the time to let us know. We will be holding a Basic's class this Fall for those interested in joining our Mountain Rescue team and are looking for dedicated individuals to apply.

Head on over to our Volunteer page for more information on what we're looking for in new recruits. The deadline to submit an interest form is July 17th.

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High Lines

Monday, April 18, 2011

When it comes to Search and Rescue operations, the biggest challenge is the environment that the team works in.  There's no control over the location of the patient, or the weather, or the terrain.  As a result, the Mountain Rescue team trains in every type of situation and/or terrain as possible.  This training helps prepare the team for any type of situation that arises.

Last weekend, the Mountain Rescue Team practiced high line operations.

High Lines are very useful when the surrounding terrain contains a canyon of some sort.  A canyon can be challenging for many reasons.  The team may be unable to easily cross from one side to another, transporting gear can be tedious and draining, or the patient may be located at the bottom of the canyon where accessing the patient is a challenge. 

Here's a short video of rescue personnel shooting a line from one side of the canyon to the other.  This line is used to pull the high line rope across the canyon:

The end result once the high line is set up:

Rescuer being lowered into the canyon to retrieve a patient:

Go here to see more pictures of High Line training.
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A Typical Rescue Scenario

Friday, April 15, 2011
Earlier this week, Mountain Rescue Officers and Volunteers rescued two stranded hikers from a cliff-face in Red Rock.  It was a gorgeous day, they weren't hiking a challenging trail, and they only planned on hiking for a couple of hours.  As they left their car, both hikers were wearing shorts and a t-shirt, tennis shoes, they grabbed a harness, and had about 4 liters of water between the two of them.  As the pair hiked into one of the canyons and scurried up a cliff face, they found themselves in a precarious position.  They could no longer climb up, they were nervous about climbing back down, and they were running out of day light very quickly.

This is the type of situation that our Unit sees far too often.  Hikers leave their cars with only the best-case scenario in mind.  It's a beautiful day, so what on earth could go wrong?

In the case of these two hikers, they did a couple of things right:
  1. Before leaving for their hike, they told friends and family where they were going.  They had a plan, they stuck to it, and someone else knew about it.  This is good.
  2. When the pair found themselves in a precarious position, they didn't attempt to do something that would harm them.  They knew that down-climbing could potentially hurt them, so instead of trying anyway, they found a giant ledge and stayed put.
  3. Both hikers carried a cell phone.  In this case, they were able to get cell phone reception and call for help directly from their location.
  4. They took water with them.
Since hindsight is 20/20, let's look at some of the things that this pair did wrong:
  1. The only clothing protecting them from the elements were shorts and a t-shirt.
  2. They didn't take food with them.
  3. The amount of water that they carried wasn't substantial for an extended stay.  In warm weather, hikers should consume 4 liters (or one gallon) of water in a day to avoid dehydration.
  4. Both hikers had cell phones and both cell phones were turned on during the duration of the hike.
  5. The hikers picked an easy trail, but deviated from that trail without knowing where they were going.  They ended up scurrying up the side of a cliff-face without a plan to get down.
  6. Neither hiker considered a worse-case scenario.
When these two hikers decided to pick a safe place to stay put and call for help, the sun was beginning to set.  They made their first call at about 3:30pm.  Rescue personnel didn't make contact with the pair until about 9:00pm and it took nearly three hours to conduct the straight-forward rescue.  Although these hikers had cell phones and were able to get reception, it still takes time to get personnel and equipment to the location.  While the hikers waited, temperatures plummeted and wind speeds accelerated.  When rescue personnel finally reached the hikers, they were uninjured, but both complained of being very cold.
  • What would've happened if the pair needed to use their cell phones, but the batteries had died?
  • What would've happened if the pair was unable to get cell phone reception?
  • What would their night had been like if their calls for help were unsuccessful?
This story is being shared because this is a typical rescue scenario.  Hikers and climbers leave the parking lots of Red Rock and other recreational areas around the valley every day without considering a worse-case scenario.  Extra clothes, food, and water don't weigh that much.  Stuff this extra gear in a day pack and throw it on your back.  Carry a survival kit so that you're able to start a fire.  This provides warmth and a signal for rescuers.  If you're not using your cell phone, turn it off.  Even though you're not using your phone, the battery drains quickly as the phone continually searches for a signal.  Research the area that you'll be visiting.  Familiarize yourself with the trail that you'll be hiking on along with the surrounding area.  If you decide to leave the trail, have a back-up plan.  Always know where you're going and how to get out.  And most importantly, let people know where you're going, what your plan is, when you think you'll be back, and stick to that plan.  It's difficult to predict whether or not things will go wrong, but if they do, it's good to be prepared.
  • Two liters of water weighs about 4.5 lbs.
  • Light-weight jacket weighs about 1 lb.
  • Pants weigh about 1 lb.
  • Food such as a sandwich, fruit, and energy bars weigh about 1-2 lbs.
  • Survival kit weighs less than 1 lb.
  • Researching a strategy and having a Plan B weighs nothing.
For additional safety information and survival tips, go here.
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Recent Rescues

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10th

On Sunday afternoon, two officers and two pilots responded to Calico I for an injured female with a possible broken ankle.  The helicopter was able to perform a one-skid landing, which allowed one of the Officers to exit the helicopter and make his way to the patient who was with CCFD and BLM Rangers.  She was placed in a litter, carried to the Landing Zone, and flown to the Charleston Overlook where she was transferred to medical.

On Sunday night, one pilot and one officer responded to a call in Sandy Valley to search for a suicidal subject after the subject's vehicle was located in the area.  After extensive searching, the body of the subject was found and an additional officer was called out to help with the body recovery.  The two officers were flown to the area where they collected evidence and transported the body to the Coroner.

Monday, April 11th

One pilot and two officers flew to Laughlin where a 20-year old female was hoisted off of a cliff.  She had fallen down a slope and became stuck in a spot directly above a vertical cliff.  Other than multiple abrasions, she had no significant injuries.  After providing medical care, the woman was hoisted into the Huey and transported to medical.

Tuesday, April 12th

Four officers, two pilots, and nine MR volunteers responded to Red Springs to retrieve two hikers who had became stranded on a cliff face while hiking.  As they continued to boulder up the side of the canyon, they eventually ran out of daylight and a clear trail to hike out.  Neither hiker had appropriate clothing or food, but were able to get cell phone reception from their location.  Because they were located in an area where the helicopter was unable to reach them, Rescue Personnel were flown above the hikers where technical systems were set up.  Two Rescuers were lowered to the hikers where they were retrieved and eventually lowered to the bottom of the canyon.  Neither hiker was injured.
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There's an App for That?

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Numerous members of LVMPDSAR's Mountain Rescue Unit have attended CMC Rescue School's.  In fact, every team member is supplied with a copy of the Rope Rescue Manual.  We use this as a training and reference tool for all of the technical systems that are utilized by our team.

For those of you that are iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners, a consolidated version is now available as an application.  Download the Rescue Field Guide App for free!
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Q1 2011 Mission Detail

Sunday, April 3, 2011
Total YTD Missions for 2011: 114

For Q1 of 2011, LVMPDSAR recorded the following activity:

Mountain Rescue Missions:

  • 32 missions
  • 40 people rescued
  • 15 people were injured
  • 2 Fatalities – Both ATV Related
  • MR Volunteers involved in 6 missions
  • 8 Missions Involving four- wheeling accidents or stranded folks
  • 21 Missions involving lost or injured hikers
  • 3 Missions involving stuck or injured climbers
Dive Team:
  • No missions first quarter.
  • No missions first quarter.
  • 82 missions in support of SWAT
  • Volunteers were involved in all 82 missions
Missions of Interest:
  • On 3/12/11, SAR Officers along with two Mountain Rescue civilian volunteers conducted a technical rescue in Pine Creek Canyon on Dark Shadows (5.8). A male climber fell while leading pitch three and decked on the pitch two belay ledge. Other climbs still on the route were able to immediately assist the climber and his partner and make the emergency notification. The climbers on the route, along with several hikers and climbers at the base of the route assisted SAR personnel with the evacuation of the injured climber. (Pictures attached of Jason being helicopter in to the mouth of the canyon, for this rescue).
  • On 3/16/11 SAR Officers along with seven Mountain Rescue volunteers responded to Juniper Canyon with a report of two experienced climbers who were significantly overdue. The climbers were located on the Brownstone wall, approximately 20 feet off the canyon floor and approximately 600 feet from the top of the canyon wall. Due to high winds, helicopter operations were limited. Ultimately, the climbers were rescued unharmed after approximately 17 hours on a belay ledge. The climbers were prepared for the cool weather and were in excellent shape when the rescue team arrived at their location. This rescue started simply with a struck rope on rappel.
  • On 3/23/11 SAR Officers responded to Oak Creek Canyon for a report of two climbers stranded on the Solar Slab Terrace in an extreme spring storm which included rain, snow, temperatures in the low 30’s and wind gusts over 60 mph. The climbers were not prepared with wet weather gear and became hypothermic very quickly. Due to extreme weather, it took several hours to locate and get personnel to the climbers. Both climbers did a good job of self rescue and were able to get themselves off the technical terrain, but had become hypothermic to the point of incapacitation. Both climbers were evacuated by SAR personnel with the assistance of Metro Rescue Pilots. Core body temperatures were in the high 70’s to low 80’s. Proper equipment preparation is key to survival when things start to go wrong!
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Survivor 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Earlier this week, University Medical Center Students participated in the third annual Survivor course that is put on by Officers and Volunteers of the Mountain Rescue Unit. The course, dubbed Survivor 2011, gives medical students who have an interest in the outdoors or injuries that occur in the outdoors the opportunity to see what it's like to be involved in rescue missions first-hand. During this 3-day class, Students learn how to rappel, build anchor systems, and work with one another on various rescue scenarios.

Here's a shot of a UMC student rappelling at Red Rock:

The group reviewing technical systems:

Building and managing technical systems:

The students also got the opportunity to witness how our rescue pilots and Mountain Rescue personnel work closely to accomplish missions:

As with previous years, this year's class was a huge success!  We want to thank all of the class participants for an outstanding time and look forward to 2012.

A complete set of photos can be found here.
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