|Top of the Hill||Boots and Blisters||Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes|
|Pinching Pennies||Who's Who and New||Gearing Up|
|Coming Attractions||Mini Lesson||Medical News|
|Member Spotlight||Public Relations||Bronze Boot|
|Statewide SAR Notes||Feature Article||Web News|
|Special Notes||Disclaimer/Copyright||Classified Ads|
| Recent Missions
|| Callout Information
|Top of the Hill||by Tom Russo, President|
I'm really looking forward to our mock search in September. We've been working on getting the word out there to other teams, and I hope we get as good a response as we did last year. James has convened a mock search planning team, and we've already come up with some interesting ideas for scenarios that will put everyone's skills to the test. Please start planning ahead now so we can have a good turnout.
Lastly, we have been having a great deal of trouble finding volunteers to handle pagers one and two each month. These duties are essential to the function of the team, and each member should consider it a duty of membership. If every member took the duty once there would be no need for that member to take it again for over two years, yet the same four or five members have taken the responsibility over and over again for several months now. To take pager duty requires that you agree to keep your pager on your person and be near a phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for one month, or to get someone to cover for you when you can't handle it. When a mission comes, you will be expected to handle the phone calls necessary to get the team activated, and to submit paperwork on the mission to the secretary at the next business meeting. At the rate we've been getting missions, this shouldn't be such an onerous task. Please volunteer.
|Boots and Blisters||by James Newberry, Training Officer|
That statement seems to say it all this month. Missions have been far and few between lately. That's good, no one has needed us. It gives us a chance to practice old skills and learn new ones. Speaking of which, we learned a couple of new skills at April's night compass course. We learned how to navigate and communicate in ferocious winds.
This month's training was ESCAPE, I hear everyone that went had a good time and learned a lot.
Because of the conflict with ESCAPE, I've moved the May Land Navigation evaluation to Sunday, May 20th. It will be held at Three Gun Springs trailhead at 9am. Please call the hotline and leave a message if you plan to attend.
Next month's training (June) will be our summer bivy on Saturday, June 23rd through Sunday, June 24th. We are going camping in the Manzanos. Yee ha! Families, dogs, horses, Llamas and Iguanas are welcome.
Please start planning to be available for the Mock Search, Saturday evening, September 15th. It should be a good exercise.
Paratus Et Vigilans
|Business as Usual:Meeting Minutes||by Jeff Phillips, Secretary|
2 Familiar faces: Don Gibson and Eric Wankel.
Tom opened the meeting at 1915 by introducing the officers and welcoming everyone. Everyone in attendance introduced themselves. Pager duties for April were identified. When we have pager problems we must fall back on the call-out procedures. Reminder for Pager # 2 to get the gear for ALL East-side missions. Announced that Chris Murray resigned as Equipment Committee Chair and Tony Gaier has agreed to do it but that he will need help.
Tom had difficulty getting volunteers to step forward to handle the pagers in May.
Two new active members were announced, Erik Aspelin and Andy Nielsen. Two new prospective members were identified, Larry Ebaugh and Steve Hochmann with a reminder to help them out at missions.
Brian reported financial status for March. Brian announced that all reports to external entities were done except the New Mexico State Employees Campaign which had not yet arrived.
Training Officer's Report
James reminded everyone to call the hotline regularly and leave a message when intending to participate in evaluations and to get updated information. James again requested people to volunteer to be evaluators and pre-meeting trainlets. Discussed upcoming trainings and evaluations. James announced the completion of Helicopters in SAR course by a few members and handed out their certificates. He then spoke briefly about the upcoming ESCAPE 2001 in May reminding members of the April 15th deadline and encouraging everyone to double check their registration. Finally, James called for a Committee to work on this year's Mock Search in September. Mighetto, Buckley, Russo, Donovan and Hall volunteered.
Equipment Committee Report
James encouraged everyone to help Tony Gaier with this. The batteries for the team radios have arrived and they work!
Public Relations Committee Report
An article in the National Safety Council Magazine, Every Second Counts, was hilighted in which Larry Mervine was quoted throughout and the team's website was published. Larry attended the Banff film festival and will do an article for Wildside magazine in May for the June issue. On 4/24/01 Larry will speak to the Amateur Radio Society in Valencia County. The next PR Committee meeting was scheduled for 4/26/01 at 1830 at Frontier. Finally, Charlie Irland discussed a Northface "Proform" 40% discount and possible wholesale discount on the entire Northface catalog soon and larry is working on a Sierra Designs discount.
Medical/Continuing Education Report
With regard to wilderness protocols, Mike reported that Cy Stockoff and Marc Beverly spoke to the Quarterly meeting of the EMS Bureau and that it is promising that 5 protocols may be added to the current First Responder certification. The next EMSB meeting is in July. Mike said after analyzing the ESCAPE Medical CEs that only 3 are appropriate for WFRs and he reminded everyone to get a certifiacte with the EMS registry # on it. AMRC has offered to help our team WFRs out on medical training but they do not offer CEs. Mike reminded everyone that WFRs CANNOT administer medications, even baby aspirin or Ibuprofen and there should be no misunderstanding on this matter. He reminded everyone to stay within the scope of practice as defined by law.
Tom announced that NMSAR Support responded that the "9999" page on a recent mission is an internal code and that it will not be used again. Tom reminded pager handlers to call when a number comes across even if it is not recognized.
February Pager #1 is Mike Dugger, Pager #2 is Chris Murray. March #1 is Larry Mervine and #2 is James Newberry.
The issue of FRS radio by teams on missions was brought up after a recent mission. Tom and some of the leadership of NMSAR Support and AMRC are discussing this issue in the near future.
The team presented a plaque to former member Don Gibson for his years of stellar service.
Respectfully submitted (twice because I did not pay attention) by Jeff Phillips. Thank you newsletter editors for your patience.
|Who's Who and New||by David Dixon, Membership Officer|
Congratulations also to Lili Ziesmann and Stephen Hochmann who passed their PACE exams at ESCAPE. We know we'll see them as actives in a few months.
I would like to remind all members of their need to attend at least 2 trainings every six months. And to keep track of themselves. There is only one more training opportunity for the January - June period and a number of members are in need. The June training will be the summer bivy. Check your status in the Training Database.
|Mini Lesson||by Tom Russo|
I'll begin by discussing basic radio etiquette and rules of the road to put the discussion in the proper frame. Then I'll move on to some simple features of the average radio and how to use them. And since that will pad out the newsletter more than it needs to be, I'll leave the rest for the trainlet.
Main Entry: com-mu-ni-ca-tionMy position is that only the "3a" definition should be considered correct in the SAR context. The definition of SAR communication should be the process by which information is exchanged and all the rules of the road that we should live by should boil down to improving that process and making sure that the information is exchanged efficiently and accurately. So what sort of rules should we live by?
1 : an act or instance of transmitting and [...]
3a : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior. [ellipsis added]
"Cibola Sam, Cibola Irving"Does this mean "This is Cibola Sam calling Cibola Irving" or "This is Cibola Irving calling Cibola Sam?" Well, that depends on whether your background is in amateur radio, the military, law enforcement, or whatever. Hams would most likely interpret this as "Cibola Irving calling Cibola Sam" and police would probably interpret it as "Cibola Sam calling Cibola Irving." Who knows how a police officer who dabbles in amateur radio would interpret it. This is one case where reducing the number of words has destroyed clarity, and it is one that is very common. Avoiding it is easy. It is far better to say "Cibola Sam, this is Cibola Irving" or "Cibola Sam to Cibola Irving" --- it doesn't matter who listens to either of these, the intent is clear.
During a mission near the Needle in 1998, a technical team below a cliff was tying a litter into a high angle raise system, and communicating with the haul captain at the top of the cliff. At one point there was a transmission from below of "ready to haul." This transmission was meant to tell the haul captain that they were ready, not to tell the haulers to start tugging. Unfortunately, a team member at the back of the haul line who had no communications responsibility insisted on having his radio on at full volume, and several members of the haul team began tugging, mistakenly thinking the call was meant for them. The haul captain was not ready for hauling, nor was the rigging completed. Had the radio been off as it should have been and people been listening to their haul captain instead this would not have happened. Fortunately nobody was injured and the problem was corrected quickly.
Lastly, when you're on a team that is standing in base camp you should turn off your radio if you are not the base camp communicator. Base camp is a busy, noisy place, and you do not need to contribute to the pandemonium. Shutting off your radio while standing in base camp should be an automatic, reflexive action.
Most of the radios out there have a few common features that can be discussed generically.
Well, almost. Turning it on is usually a no-brainer for most radios, but how do you set the volume and squelch? The easiest way is to select a clear frequency and turn the squelch to higher sensitivity (i.e. it will "break" with a weaker signal) until you hear static (no signal to speak of, as weak as you can get!). Most radios increase sensitivity as you turn squelch counter clockwise, but not all, so consult your owner's manual. Once you hear the static, adjust the volume to a comfortable listening level, then turn the squelch the other way until the static just goes away. You're now at the highest sensitivity you can get without hearing static all the time, and your eardrums probably won't shatter when squelch is broken.
Pick a frequency? Well, that depends on your radio, your mission, and your license. Odds are good that you'll use the channel selector knob to set your frequency from a pre-programmed set, if you've planned ahead properly. If not, you may be able to key in the frequency on your keypad.
During missions, SAR teams are allowed to use the State SAR frequency of 155.160MHz (MHz=megahertz). That doesn't mean you can just grab any radio that can transmit on 155.160 and use it, though. The radio must be FCC Type Approved for the public service band to be used legally for transmitting under the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Part 90 rules. I can't tell you which radios are type approved, but I can tell you one thing: if your radio allows direct frequency entry of frequencies in the public service band (e.g. selecting 155.160 by typing "1 5 5 1 6 0" on the keypad, as opposed to selecting channel 2 with the little knob on top) without an external programming device attached it is not type approved according to the federal regulations. There are some radios out there that do allow direct frequency entry in the public service band, usually because someone opened up the back of a ham radio and snipped a diode. Transmitting with such a radio on the public service frequencies exposes you to potential legal action by the FCC, and fines as stiff as $20,000, even if you supposedly have authority to use the frequency. That authority presupposes that you're using it within the scope of the regulations, which includes using proper equipment. Think before you key the mike.
Frequencies between 144.000 MHz and 148.000 MHz are 2-meter amateur radio (HAM) frequencies. Radios used on the amateur bands do not need to be FCC Type Approved. Even if one of those frequencies is in use on a mission, and even if your radio is capable of transmitting on them, you are never authorized to use those frequencies unless you have a current FCC Amatuer Radio Operator/Station license, even on a mission. If you are a licensed ham you should already know this, but you are required to transmit your call sign once every 10 minutes during an extended contact (you should rarely be having one that long on a mission!), and at the end of a contact. It is not enough to use your "tactical call sign" (e.g. "Team 1 Alpha"), you must use your FCC assigned call sign.
Sometimes you have to stick your radio somewhere where it will be exposed to bumps and random button presses. Many radios have a "keypad lock" feature, and this is a valuable thing to use when your radio's snapped into a harness. It disables the keypad and protects it against accidental keypresses. Be aware, however, that some radios that support frequency selection by keypad and channel selector knob don't always lock the knob when they lock the keypad. My radio is that way, and I need to check periodically to make sure that nothing has bumped the knob and changed my frequency while I was walking. I'd recommend checking this feature when looking into a radio to purchase. I find it a very annoying "feature" of my radio.
Another type of lock is useful: the "push-to-talk lock (PTT lock)." The best reason to lock your push-to-talk is when you have to stick it in a pocket where the push-to-talk may accidentally be pressed; locking the push-to-talk will prevent you from causing interference on the channel and potentially blocking emergency traffic. Another good reason to use it is that sometimes your radio may be capable of transmitting on frequencies that you have no authority to use: an example might be a team radio that has been programmed with the NOAA radio channel so you can listen to weather forecasts while on the mission. It would be a Very Bad Thing to accidentally transmit on that frequency, so you should lock the push-to-talk before switching to that channel. Another good reason to lock the keypad is because you have a "modified" ham radio that could transmit on a public service channel, but shouldn't be used for that. You can still listen on those channels, and locking the PTT prevents you from accidentally transmitting where you shouldn't. Some radios allow you to specify that a particular channel is "receive only" --- all they're really doing is storing the PTT lock setting with the channel information. It's important that you know how to recogonize, activate and deactivate this lock on your radio, because you may find that your radio isn't transmitting and it's just because you've accidentally engaged it or forgotten to disengage it.
One last recommendation on equipment: you will probably find that using a "speaker mike" or something similar will aid you in the field. Without such a device, you usually have to take your radio out of its harness to transmit, and keep its speaker unobstructed. The latter generally requires that you leave it out and exposed to the wind, rain and cold, while the former lets you run the risk of improperly securing it when you put it back over and over again, and ultimately you may allow it to drop from the harness. With a speaker mike you can keep the mike clipped close to your ear so you can hear it, while the radio is kept safely tucked inside clothing or your pack. Keeping the radio warm helps its battery life. When you need to transmit you need only take the speaker mike from where it's clipped. You can't usually lose it if you fail to secure it, because it's tethered to the radio by its cable anyway.
|Medical News||by Mike Dugger and Mickey Jojola|
Mickey and I continue to pursue a medical refresher course that would be offered every fall. We are awaiting a proposal from one instructor, and need to have discussions with two more. Once we have some details we will be able to make a recommendation to the team on what course to arrange. Our goal is still to have a course that any member can get some basic first aid information from, with provision for our First Responders to meet the refresher requirement.
HAPE is defined as High Altitude Pulmonary Edema. This is characterized by a buildup of fluid (edema) in the lungs. It might be considered the next step after Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) although some experts believe that it may not be related. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, breathlessness at rest, cough with possible frothy or pink sputum, gurgling or rattling breaths (rales), chest tightness, fullness, or congestion, and blue or gray lips or fingernails. The treatment for HAPE is immediate descent, and if not properly treated it can be fatal. Descent may be complicated by the extreme fatigue associated with this condition.
HACE is defined as High Altitude Cerebral Edema and can be characterized as a buildup of fluid in the brain. This causes pressure on the brain and can lead to the same symptoms as a severe head injury. The main characteristic of HACE is a change in mental status, or the ability to think. There may be confusion, changes in behavior, or lethargy. Easier to recognize though is the loss of coordination known as ataxia. This can result in behavior such as a staggering walk identical to the way a person walks when very drunk. As with the treatment for HAPE, immediate descent is imperative. HACE often happens at night. DO NOT wait until morning to evacuate, as any delay may be fatal!
For both HAPE and HACE it is necessary to descend to an elevation where the subject exhibits no symptoms of AMS or HAPE. Each individual is different but the treatment is the same - get them to a lower altitude, fast!
There is a good web site full of information on high altitude illness (where most of this info came from) at www.high-altitude-medicine.com. Check it out!
Check here in the future for answers to this medical question of the month.
|Web News||by Ydobon|
|Disclaimer and Copyright notice||the Editors|