Training for Search and Rescue
THUNDER BAY – There were two “lost” hunters on Saturday in the Dog Lake area as Lakehead Search and Rescue had its fall search and rescue scenario – SAREX – to practise and hone their searching skills. This exercise was designed by Search Manager/Trainer Denise Wallace, with the assistance of actors, to provide a great learning experience.
Leading up to this exercise, new members have been receiving instruction on the Psychology of Survival – Assessing Your Situation and the Seven Enemies of Survival. They were taught how to build a survival kit for any type of outdoor event they might engage in, such as a car kit, a hiking kit, a three-day pack, etc. They also gained knowledge about being prepared: clothing, hypothermia, food, shelters, fire building, and signal fires.
Wallace states that, “After practicing weekly in the classroom and outside every Thursday evening, new and experienced members become quite proficient.” Radio communication, compass and GPS familiarization, map usage, observation, and note taking skills are all part of basic knowledge gained leading to this proficiency. The successful completion of the ICS Introduction to Incident Command course, as well as yearly examinations, is mandatory to become an active member.
On Saturday, November 5, 2016, Search and Rescue members were alerted that two hunters were “lost” on Friday evening. Members met at a designated spot and proceeded to the Dog Lake scene with their Mobile Command Centre.
While at Dog Lake, just west and north of Thunder Bay, search managers Dan Currie and Tim Wheeler took over. Members received a description of the lost hunters/actors and broke into teams to begin their logistically planned search. The lost hunters were found “safe and sound” by the end of the day.
Lakehead Search and Rescue is a volunteer organization that has been in existence for over 50 years with approximately 40 certified members who are dedicated to the citizens of Northwestern Ontario.