*SAR Training in NC*
By: Arkit2
08 April 2006

Over the weekend my daughter and I participated in a joint SAR operation with the N.C. Search & Rescue Dog Association, Croft Fire Department, and the Croft State Park Rangers. This was the first time our CERT team ever participated in a full-scale exercise involving multiple response agencies. Despite some communication glitches, the exercise was a huge success,

The exercise scenario was responding to a 10-passenger plane crash in Croft State Park. The emergency locator transmitter malfunctioned on the plane. Due to the malfunction, we only knew the general area of the plane crash. Therefore, we broke into four separate teams, and the search commenced. My daughter volunteered to be a victim. With very little to no orienteering experience we added a SAR-dog tech to each CERT team. Black and white topo maps were available, but not much good. Few people had a compass and less actually new how to use one. We located the crash site in the first hour and began medical support and extrication. It was a good exercise and it showed us where we need to strengthen our team skills. SAR is outside the scope of most CERT teams but we did pretty well with this one.


Once the exercise was over, I took my daughter out hiking in the park. One of the dog handlers asked if we would allow him to track us down as his dog did not get to work. This was big fun. I ran switchbacks, crawled in briar patches etc. It only took the dog about half an hour to find us. He was a big old bloodhound named Randy. I could only imagine how good it must feel to see him run up on you if you were lost.

Overall we had a fun weekend made some new friends and learned a lot.

If you get an opportunity to volunteer in one of your community preparedness teams do it.

It is good free training and you may be able to make a difference some day.

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