I would like to extend my congratulations to our newest members who were officially brought on to our team on Tuesday at our AGM and presented with the NSR Team Jacket. It is quite the accomplishment to pass the MIT program – it requires a huge amount of dedication, training, and sacrifice of personal time. These members have completed an extensive two year Member in Training program that includes a practical and written exam. These new members also bring with them an excellent array of skills from their “normal day jobs”.
From Left: Simon Jackson (NSR Training Officer), Mike Kelso (new member, and North Van Fire Fighter), Ryan Morasiewicz (new member, and lawyer by trade), Dale Weidman (new member, and VPD member), Scott Merriman (new member, and Electrical Engineer), Curtis Jones (NSR MIT Coordinator).
Rotary President Wendy Law presents $7500 cheque to North Shore Rescue from proceeds raised from annual Duck Race.
A big thank you to the Rotary Club!!
This Saturday, North Shore Rescue (NSR) held its annual Member-in-Training (MIT) evaluation on Mount Seymour. This long day helps us to check off the many skills that members of NSR are required to master.
As many of you know, NSR has a two year MIT process which teaches the fundamental skills to become an active member with the team. Over this period MIT’s learn A LOT. To learn and maintain these skills takes a committed individual who enjoys learning new skills. These skills include but are not limited to:
- Search techniques and theory
- Avalanche rescue
- Organized rope rescue skills
- Mountain rescue techniques
- Helicopter rescue techniques (eg. hover entry/exit, HETS awareness, etc)
- First aid and patient packaging
- Swift water awareness
- Emergency and off-road vehicle driving skills
To come on as an active member of the team, MIT’s must pass a practical and written examination. This is conducted in the form of a marathon examination day where in the morning and early afternoon, MIT’s are put through a grueling set of practical stations which test the fundamentals of the skill sets they are taught. This is immediately followed by a written Ground Search and Rescue examination in the late afternoon which they must all achieve 70% or higher on.
The practical stations are spread out on the top of Mount Seymour and members cycle between them in a coordinated fashion similar to a SAR call. They are required to coordinate their movements via radio and work with their fellow teammates where required. The practical stations include:
- Navigation (Map, Compass, GPS)
- Survival/First Aid (Shelter building, fire building, scene assessment, patient assessment, hypothermia treatment, splinting)
- Avalanche (Oral examination, beacon search)
- Ascend, Rappel and Rope Rescue Knots (must perform a 20 meter rappel, and ascend back up the rope with their SAR backpack which are in excess of 32 lbs)
- Specialty skills (stretcher rigging, snow anchor, 3:1 raise system, tandem prussik belay, companion rescue)
This year, of the 7 that attempted the full examination, all 7 MIT’s completed it. This a testament to their hard work and dedication to serving the community as a professional SAR volunteer. We are all very proud of their effort and success!
Tonight, NSR members conducted a rope rescue training scenario in Greenwood Park. This scenario involved an injured patient at the bottom of a 30 foot vertical cliff with approximately 30 feet of uneven terrain above.
In this scenario, a first aid attendant immediately rappelled down the cliff and began assessment of the patient while other members prepared to send down a stretcher and attendant. Utilizing a tandem rope system (one load and one belay line), an attendant was lowered to the bottom where they packaged the patient. The system was then converted to a raise to facilitate hauling the attendant and the patient back up to the top.
Practicing these skills realistically allows members to hone their skills and stay fresh for when they are needed on tasks. This was also a chance for NSR’s newest Rope Rescue Team Leader candidate to practice command in preparation for the upcoming fall team leader exam in Squamish.
This afternoon NSR responded to a call for a injured 54 year old male who had taken about a 20 meter fall on a technical part of the route. Luckily the subject was well prepared and able to get out on his cell phone, as he was hiking by himself. He was about 200 meters away from the North Needle (A peak deep within Lynn Headwaters Park) when he fell.
A NSR flight team extracted him from the scene using the Helicopter External Transport System (HETS) and delivered him to a waiting ambulance. He was transported to hospital to be treated for minor to moderate injuries he sustained in the fall. Although the subject was well prepared, he was traveling by himself which can be extremely dangerous if something goes wrong. We always advise that you travel with someone else when you head into the back-country.
Also noteworthy; while on the previous call, NSR personnel also noticed a set of tracks heading up Cathedral Mountain. The tracks were observed to be crossing a heavily undermined snow bridge over a steep gulley. This is EXTREMELY dangerous, and had it given out, someone would have likely been seriously injured or killed.
With the snowpack melting it is essential that people traveling in the local mountains pay attention to areas that may be undermined by melt. These include snow covered areas near rock walls, where streams run underneath, or especially near the edge of snow patches. Falling through could be disastrous.
Its still not too late to sign up for the Rotary Ride for Rescue!
For more information and to sign up -