So what does it mean to be a search and rescue volunteer? Here are some of my personal opinions, and thoughts so people have a better idea. I am sure others have different experiences thoughts, and I welcome your comments.
My name is John Blown and I have been on the North Shore Rescue team for 5 years and counting.
1. Joining North Shore Rescue – First off I had to apply, the form covers local terrain knowledge, first aid skills, mountain skills and other pertinent information. Once the application was submitted and approved I was interviewed by a panel of members. The panel of members recommended me to the Executive and the Executive then approved me as an MIT. I was a little nervous during the interview – it can be a little intimidating being interviewed by a panel regardless of what its for – and I really wanted to get onto the team. Luckily I was approved and was brought on as an MIT.
2. Once brought on as an MIT – I had to go through a two year training period. This means I had to show up to almost all training and a majority of calls. We train every Tuesday night, one weekend/month and call outs last year broke 100. Its a lot of work. Once I finished my first year as an MIT, I went through an evaluation process including an 8 hour practical exam consisting of various skills such as first aid, rope rescue, avalanche searches etc. as well as a written exam.
Once I passed this test I was then allowed to proceed to my second year of MIT status, and I had to do another year as an MIT and pass the exam again on the second time around.
At first I thought this seemed a little extreme – however, when you are out on a search and you are depending on your search partner, it is good to know that they have gone through extensive training and you can depend on them.
3. Once I finished my MIT years, I was brought on as a full member, and was provided with the coveted NSR yellow jacket, and a few other goodies. Now I thought I could relax and coast – well no, not really. Duties include committee membership, fundraising, event attendance, training, and of course …call outs. Sound like a lot of work? It is – but it is also very rewarding. However, I still sometimes I think we are gluttons for punishment.
I haven’t covered call-outs which is what NSR is all about, and reason for being, so I will address that in my next post.
~ John Blown