The New Mexico Search and Rescue Council (NMSARC) is hosting ESCAPE (Emergency Services Annual Preparedness Event), its annual training event for search and rescue volunteers April 25-27 at the Buffalo Thunder Resort, Spa, and Casino in Pojoaque.
More than 100 volunteers from throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma are attending to train in all aspects of effective search and rescue.
The three-day conference also has vendors, featuring the latest in search and rescue gear, communications equipment and performance clothing, a silent auction with some amazing items up for bid, and a fantastic helicopter display.
This event boasts 30 qualified instructors teaching more than 45 search and rescue related courses including Paul Howard, a representative from the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR).
Friday’s training programs are planned to include:
- Introduction to technical rescue,
- Basic search and rescue gear,
- Use of Search and Rescue dogs,
- Patient assessment lab,
- How to recognize and treat high altitude sickness,
- Two courses related to autistic subjects,
- Clue awareness and preservation,
- Building team unity,
- Search techniques, and
- Amateur radio class through Saturday afternoon.
Friday evening a SAR social is planned to give volunteers a chance to collaborate with one another in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.
Saturday will open with the annual business meeting and board member elections followed by planned training exercises in map and compass techniques, K9s in technical terrain, planning and running a mock search, “Hug a Tree” instructor course, canine and horse field exercises, and the completion of the amateur HAM radio class and licensure Exam, to list a few.
The NMSARC and Buffalo Thunder Resort will provide a buffet lunch in addition to an extravagant plated dinner. Special guest of honor New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas will give the keynote address to the assembly after lunch; the topic will be “Search and Rescue from the New Mexico State Police Perspective.”
The Santa Fe County Fire Department Technical Rescue Team is planning on bringing their full team assets: A 40’ Urban SAR Trailer, 4X4 Rescue Truck with Inflatable Raft, 3-ATVs, its forward command vehicle and a smaller Rescue Trailer for display (8 a.m. to late afternoon April 26).
Highlights in Sunday’s program are scheduled to include the field certification exam, critical incident stress management, Civil Air Patrol capabilities and high-bird fly by, helicopter operations with several helicopters coming in for a static display, para-glider demonstrations, medical courses on anaphylaxis and MRSA, a technical rescue scenario, and a couple more courses for K9 volunteers.
“This is a unique event where dedicated search and rescue volunteers from all over the region meet to improve their skills and knowledge, network, see old friends and make new ones, and have a great time,” said the NMSARC ESCAPE chair. “Search and rescue volunteers love the outdoors and are committed to supporting their communities.”
In total, there are approximately 1,500 volunteers on more than 50 non-profit SAR Teams in New Mexico and according to a statistics report provided by the New Mexico Search and Rescue Resource Officer, Robert Rodgers, in 2013, NMSAR teams participated 119 SAR Missions logging 16568 Volunteer Man-hours, 43 aircraft were used, and there were 169 subjects reported.