SAR Conference Featured High-Angle Rescues

Edit: May 9th, 8 a.m. – three additional photos added.

SAR News:

New Mexico Search and Rescue volunteers practice high and low angle rescues during Saturday’s portion of last weekend’s three-day conference at Buffalo Thunder. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Photo by Carol A. Clark/
The New Mexico Search and Rescue Council (NMSARC) hosted its annual training event – ESCAPE (Emergency Services Annual Preparedness Event for search and rescue volunteers last weekend at the Buffalo Thunder Resort in Pojoaque.

More than 200 volunteers from throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Texas attended to train in all aspects of effective search and rescue. 

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

The three-day conference also included a trade show, featuring the latest in search and rescue gear, communications equipment and performance clothing.

The event provided 33 qualified instructors who taught more than 50 search and rescue related courses to participants.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/
Friday’s training programs will include safety, gear, and clothing for search and rescue volunteers, presentations from the Civil Air Patrol, the use of horses in search and rescue, introduction to technical rescue, basic search and rescue radio communications, the use of search and rescue dogs,and search techniques.

Saturday opened with the annual business meeting and board member elections followed by planned training exercises in map and compass techniques, high and low angle rescue, field trauma medical training, amateur HAM radio class and licensure, and canine and horse training.

Volunteers train to securely anchor the ropes holding rescuers as they scale down walls and cliffs. Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Special guest of honor, Secretary Gorden E. Eden, Jr. gave the keynote address on “Search and Rescue in the 21st Century – A Positive Move Forward.” 

Rep. Rhonda S. King received a special award for her work and dedication to the New Mexico Search and Rescue Community.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

Highlights in Sunday’s program included the field certification exam, testing of gps skills with a geo-cache dash, operating around helicopters, a technical rescue scenario and a complete canine field exercise.
ESCAPE Chair John Gallegos described the conference as 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.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

In total, there are approximately 1,500 volunteers on 65 non-profit SAR Teams in New Mexico.

The teams participated in 81 missions and rescued 110 subjects in 2011.

Photo by Carol A. Clark/

National Guard Blackhawk visits Pojoaque Pueblo. Photo by Una Smith/Courtesy.

Training to prepare search and rescue dogs for deployment by helicopter. Matthew Williams and SAR canine Roxie, Mounted Canine Corps (Los Alamos). Photo by Una Smith/Courtesy.

Helicopter hoist of a dummy in a SKED monitored by Carrie Hale, NM SAR. Section Chief and Organ Mountain Technical Rescue Squad. Photo by Una Smith/Courtesy.


From Eric Hjelmfelt ( – President, New Mexico Search and Rescue Council:

I am pleased to announce that the recipiant of the 2012 Ralph Dawdy Award ( is Gary (ca$h) Cascio, of Santa Fe SAR and Santa Fe ARES.

Gary started with St. John’s SAR back in 2003, and is now active with both Santa Fe SAR and Santa Fe ARES.  He is a current Type II Field Coordinator.  He is a former President of the NMSARC Board.  He is, in a large part, responsible for the design of the current website, as well as originating its involvement in Facebook and the Google Groups email system.  Gary has investigated, and now teaches, how to use the 911 system to find out coordinates for a subject’s cell phone.  Of late, he has been tasked by the Council to head a budget working group that will advise the State Police Chief about our priorities for how to allocate the State’s budge for Search and Rescue.


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