On Sunday January 27th, 2008 North Shore Rescue team members participated in a skills workshop practicing pickoffs from steep snow slopes using HFRS. Team members arrived at Mount Seymour parking lot at 0800 and headed to the preselected exercise location. Upon arrival, NSR members put crampons on their boots and descended the 45 degree slope on ropes. The drill required the members on ropes, to dig a platform into the snow, from which a patient could be packaged, and a HFRS rescuer could land and remove the patient with the Aerial Rescue Platform. This was done by two teams of three, overseen by the technical instructors on site, Dave Sulina and Stan Sovdat.
When the platforms were completed, members placed a separate anchor for which the HFRS rescuer would anchor into upon landing. The purpose of this was to provide an independent attachment, should the helicopter be lifted by an updraft causing the rescuer to come up. In this situation rather than pulling everyones anchor, it would only affect the rescuer who is safely attached to the master attach point (map) of the helicopter long line.
Upon completing these tasks, members waited for the other portion of the exercise to get underway. The helicopter flown by Peter Murray of Talon Helicopters arrived at NSR Bone Creek helispot facility where the HFRS coordinator in training boarded the aircraft and flew to the training site to assess the weather and location. With variable weather, and the time frame of a skills workshop, the HFRS coordinator in training made the call to scrap the HFRS portion of the exercise. Overall the exercise was a tremendous success, with NSR members practicing essential skills, and the HFRS coordinator in training being given the opportunity to make a risk assessment call, which was the correct one.