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New Mexico Search and Rescue Field Certification Study Guide

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When selecting hiking boots, what things should you consider?
Comfort and fit, ankle support, sole thickness. They should be waterproof. Also, leather boots will keep out cactus spines that other expensive materials will not.
If your hands or feet are cold.... (most body heat is lost...)
... put on your hat. (...through the head.)
What two types of gloves are required?
Sturdy work gloves (for terrain, rope rescue, litter carry) and warm gloves/mittens for cold weather.
When are hard hats or helmets vital?
When doing any rock work, when performing a cave rescue, or any time you are around a helicopter.
Are cotton socks suitable for hiking?
No, not even in the summer.
What is the ideal combination for hiking socks?
One inner layer of nylon, polypropylene, silk, or wool and
one outer pair of medium weight wool (hiking sock thickness). A clean pair of socks in your pack is required.
When dressing in layers, what is the trick?
The trick is to keep warm enough without sweating and getting wet from the inside out.
Inner layer includes what?
basic underwear and long underwear
Middle layers should be warm. Outer layers should protect from what?
wind and water.
Anywhere in New Mexico, at any time of year, you may need to protect yourself from what?
Hypothermia
To pass the gear and clothing check section of this Certification, you must:
• Have silk, synthetics, or wool for the inner layer (next to your skin),
• Wool or synthetics for the middle (warm) layer, and
• A breathable wind/water protective outer layer.
When packing food for yourself, for how long should you plan?
24 hours
How much water is required for the certification for a 24 hour period?
2 quarts (containers only are required for the certification, do not have to be filled with water)
How accurate must your compass be for this certification?
within 5 degrees
A vehicle driver or passenger should have a duffel bag or similar container which
could be _______ ________if a walkout were necessary.
easily carried
On average, doing day-to-day activities, you lose about _____ ounces of water through urine
production and another ____ ounces through perspiration and respiration.
48, 24
We recommend you carry _____ or _____ GALLONS if you are searching for two to four
hours in hot/dry weather.
1, 2
When working in a cave, how many sources of light may be required
three
By far the most efficient communication method is....
... face to face
Before going into the field, you and your team should be briefed....
... face to face
Cell phones are ___ _______ _______ in search and rescue.
of limited value
If cell phone communications are necessary, try _____ ______ so that you may be within line-of-sight of a cell tower.
going uphill
Satellite phones must have what in order to operate?
A clear field of view to a relatively large area of sky. They are not useful from the bottom of deep, narrow canyons or in areas with dense tree canopy.
The vast majority of communications within an incident occur on what?
two-way radios
Where can you find information about types of communication and associated radio frequencies in use for an operation?
The mission's Communications Plan. DO NOT go into the field without this information
VHF and UHF stand for what?
Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency
What are the VHF State SAR frequencies?
155.160 (commonly used both for call-in for those responding and from search teams to incident base), 151.370, and 159.285 Megahertz
What are the UHF State SAR frequencies?
460.250 and 465.250
What is required in order to operate a Amateur or Ham radio?
a federal government issued license.
FRS and GMRS stand for what?
Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service
FRS operate on UHF and have approximately what range?
Two miles over perfectly flat terrain with no obstructions. They should not be relied on for long-range, critical, or mission communications
GMRS radios have a range of what?
About five miles under ideal conditions.
The most worthless radio is....
.... the one that is turned off.
If you miss a check in time, check in as soon as is practical. If Incident Base does not respond on your regular check-in,....
1. try using another radio. If that fails,
2. get to a better, possibly higher, location and try again.
3. If that fails, return to the last location where you had good radio communication, or to incident base.
Do not stay in the field if....
... you have no communication with the outside world.
Identify the following Echo Codes:
1. Echo Alpha
2. Echo Bravo
3. Echo Charlie
4. Echo Delta
1. Subject is uninjured
2. Subject has minor injuries
3. Subject has serious injuries
4. Subject is deceased
If a death code is not given to you during your team briefing, ...
.... ASK FOR IT
All radio comms should be conducted using....
.... plain language (no 10 codes or jargon)
The two most common causes of communications problems are what?
Low batteries and difficult terrain
What are some techniques for overcoming terrain in comms issues?
1.) move a few feet
2.) shield your radio from the wind
3.) get our of the tress
4.) get away from structures, especially metal buildings
5.) move uphill
6.) try using high power
7.) face the receiving station
If all else fails....
SHINE A LIGHT AND MAKE A LOUD NOISE
As a search and rescue volunteer, ______ should be your first priority.
Safety
Describe situational awareness.
a.) it is an important principal of stress managment and scene safety.
b.) self's ability to perceive and identify elements of information that are critical to mission success
c.) constantly identifying what has happened around you, what is currently happening, and the forethought of what could potentially happen.
Risk can be defined as _______________ multiplied by ____________.
Risk = Probability X Consequences
Statistically, your greatest risk during a search & rescue mission is when?
During the drive to and from the incident base
What often makes it difficult to determine the severity of high-altitude illnesses?
The progression from mild to severe altitude illness takes place over a spectrum. Evacuation to a lower altitude is always warranted when high-altitude illness is suspected.
Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) occurs commonly to individuals who ascend to _________ ft or higher from below __________ ft.
8,000 ft; 3,500 ft
Onset of AMS symptoms can occur how soon after arrival at altitude?
within a few hours
Symptoms that occur after ______ hours or more at the same altitude are not likely the result of AMS and should be considered to be of a different origin
36 hours
Symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) include what?
Headache AND one or more of the following:
- difficulty sleeping
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- fatigue
- dizziness or light-headedness
NOTE: Symptoms associated with AMS are non-specific and could be the result of other more life-threatening illnesses. AMS should only be considered as the source of symptoms after a thorough evaluation has been performed by a skilled medical provider.
High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) is a ____-___________ condition that occurs in the _______.
life-threatening; lungs
While HAPE has beend reported at as low as _______ ft in patient that are high risk, it is unlikely to occur at elevations less than ____________.
5,000 ft; 11,000 ft
Individuals who are _________ __________ and ____________ ___________ themselves are more likely to develop HAPE.
ascending rapidly; physically exerting
Symptoms of High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) include what?
-difficulty breathing, particularly while at rest
-cough (may produce frothy and/or bloody sputum)
-rapid respirations
-rapid heart rate
-chest pain
-wet lung sounds
-weakness
-cyanosis (blue skin color)
TO TREAT: supplemental oxygen may help; most importantly descend to lower elevation and request advanced life support for anyone with the above symptoms
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is _________ but ________-_____________
uncommon; life-threatening
HACE typically will occur in those that initially experienced AMS or HAPE and did what?
Stayed at high altitude or continued to higher elevation.
HACE has rarely been reported below ________ ft and usually occurs only at a much higher elevation.
10,000 ft
Symptoms of HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) include:
-ataxic gait (lack of coordination when walking)
-fatigue
-altered mentation (from confusion to coma)
-irritability
-headache
-nausea and vomiting
-vagueness and confusion
TREATMENT: supplemental oxygen if available, definitely descend to lower altitude, request advanced life support immediately.
Natural hazards can include:
-cactus and other spiny plants, dead snags, thick growths of trees and brush
-loose rocks and rock slides, steep drop-offs, sink holes, high altitude, avalanches, caves
-bears, mountain lions, bobcats, wolves, livestock, snakes, insects, spiders
-streams, rivers, lakes, flash floods
-cold and heat, wind, rain, hail, snow, lightning, bright sun
Man-made hazards can include
-marijuana fields that may or may not be guarded or rigged with dangerous traps
-methamphetamine labs which have the potential to be explosive, toxic, and potentially deadly
-mines, Indian ruins, old cabins and other buildings
-barbed wire (which is a tripping hazard and may be strung across arroyos)
-militia groups and other individuals who will take action if trespassed upon
-hunters
-wildland fires
What is the number one killer in alpine terrain?
Loose and falling rock.
What is the 7th leading cause of environmental death in North America over the last decade?
Lightning
______% of lightning strikes occur between May and September, and ____% occur in the afternoon/early evening.
92%, 72%
What is the 30-30 rule focused on by NOAA?
Individuals should seek shelter if less than 30 seconds between lightning and thunder is observed, and also that an area is not safe until 30 minutes after a storm has passed.
What should be sought as shelter from lightning?
an enclosed vehicle or modern-built building
TRUE OR FALSE: Rescuers should ultimately realize that there is not a safe place outside during a lightning storm.
TRUE
If shelter from lightning is not available, what areas should be avoided?
-avoiding areas that are exposed and higher than adjacent areas, ridgelines, large bodies of water, or the largest tree in a stand of trees.
-shallow caves and cliff faces offer no protection
true or false, water deep inside a cave can be a potential conductor for lightning
true
rescuers should spread out ____ ft minimum apart while still maintaining visual contact with each other when avoiding lightning.
20 ft
After rescuers have spread out to about 20 ft, finding a _____ _______ will probably be the lowest risk area if you choose to stop moving in a lightning storm
dry ravine
Describe the "lightning position"
1.) insulating yourself from the ground with a pad or pack
2.) crouching in a position low to the ground and
3.) limiting surface area contact.
(although this technique is commonly described as beneficial, no substantiated data exists to support this notion)
What is the key to avoiding lightning strikes?
Prevention
Roughly _______% of lightning strikes are fatal.
10%
Initial treatment of lightning strike victims should focus on ______ ______.
scene safety
In a mass-casualty lightning strike, what type of triage should be utilized?
"reverse triage" This means that resources should be directed towards victims who do not have pulses, and/or who are not breathing spontaneously. Treatment should follow standard CPR protocols; expect longer than normal periods of assisted rescue breathing
Why should "reverse triage" be used in lightning strike mass-casualty incidents?
Because victims that ARE breathing spontaneously and DO have a pulse also have a VERY HIGH LIKELIHOOD OF SURVIVAL.
Note: these victims may suffer various traumatic injuries, cardiac abnormalities, and/or ruptured eardrums. Basically, they need to see emergency medical treatment too.
How deep must fast-moving water be to knock you off your feet?
six inches
How high can rapidly rising water reach in a flash flood?
30 feet or more.
What warning signs can indicate a flash flood?
At times there will be little warning of a flash flood. Listen for thunder from a faraway thunderstorm and watch for rapidly rising water.
What action should you take to avoid flash floods?
Seek higher ground immediately, do not attempt to cross any fast moving water.
At what time of year can hypothermia be a risk factor?
All year long. A summer storm at altitude can easily drop temperatures capable of inducing hypothermia.
How can you mitigate risks with cold weather injuries?
Proper preparation, carrying adequate clothing, staying dry, proper layering techniques, adequate caloric intake, hydration, and good situational awareness on weather.
How is hypothermia defined?
A body core temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit
What are the four mechanisms of heat loss that you should keep in mind when preventing and treating hypothermia?
Conduction- loss of heat due to contact with another object
Convection- loss of heat due to the movement of air (wind) across the body
Radiation- loss of heat given the surrounding atmosphere with no physical contact involved
Evaporation- loss of heat due to evaporation of liquid i.e. sweat and wet clothing
What are symptoms of mild hypothermia?
Shivering is the main sign
-person may feel cold,
-have a fast heart rate
-fast respiratory rate
-have contraction of blood vessels seen in the arms and legs
How do you treat mild hypothermia?
Adding more clothing layers and removing any wet clothing
get indoors from the cold or obtain/make shelter. Drink warm liquids and eat high caloric foods.
Increase physical activity without depleting too much energy or creating excess sweat
avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
If needed, start a fire
What primarily indicates the progression from mild to moderate hypothermia? This occurs at what core temperature?
the cessation of shivering.
88 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are other common signs of moderate hypothermia?
un-coordinated movements (think "-umbles" stumble, mumble, fumble)
sluggish movements
being withdrawn
How do you treat moderate hypothermia?
Essentially the same as with mild hypothermia, but more aggressive.
Prevent further heat loss, then add heat to the patient through various mechanisms.
-warm water bottles in the axilla/groin
-campfires
-ready heat blanket if available
-warm liquids if the patient can maintain their own airway
seek medical attention ASAP
What hallmarks the progression from moderate to severe hypothermia?
An altered level of consciousness and the loss of reflexes and voluntary motion. This potentially includes unconsciousness.
What includes intervention for potential frostbite?
-Recognition
-seek shelter, move out of wind if possible
-remove clothing on affected area and replace with dry clothing
-place involved extremity in companion's axilla for 10 minutes
-if sensation returns, proceed with caution
-if sensation does not return after 10 minutes of warming seek shelter, radio and return to base camp
-seek medical attention
NOTE: Frostbite and hypothermia commonly occur together. Do not forget to treat hypothermia.
If a rescuer lacks proper knowledge of avalanche terrain assessment and/or companion rescue, their travel in the winter backcountry should be limited to slopes less than _______ degrees with no overhead hazard.
20 degrees
What is the most important consideration for SAR personnel responding to an avalanche?
ensure the safety of the responders involved
What percentage of avalanche accidents result in a fatality?
Approximately 23%
What are the three primary causes of death in avalanches?
Asphyxia (74%)
Trauma (25%)
Hypothermia (1%)
Initial treatment of avalanche victims should be directed to:
Stabilizing Circulation (stop the bleeding)
Manage the Airway (opening and clearing the airway of snow)
and providing rescue breathing. Follow standard CPR protocols as needed.
What two factors greatly impact survivability in avalanche victims?
Time of burial and extent of burial (partial vs. full burial)
The exact cause of heat cramps is still unknown, but they generally resolve with __________, __________, and __________.
rest, hydration, and replenishment of electrolytes.
A syncopal episode is defined as a brief loss in _________ with rapid return to ______ _______ _______.
consciousness, normal mental status
Minor muscle spasms may occur during heat syncopy, these should not be confused with what?
seziures
What are some of the symptoms of heat exhaustion?
-fatigue
-nausea
-vomiting
-dizziness
-headache
-sweating with flush, red skin
Treatment for heat exhaustion includes what?
-remove the individual from the hot environment
-resting
-eating and drinking fluids as necessary
symptoms may take awhile to resolve
What is the mortality rate of people who suffer from heat stroke? What does that rate change to if the person develops hypotension (low blood pressure) as a result?
10%, 30%
What symptoms characterize heat stroke?
-decreased neurological function
-altered mentation
-confusion
-agitation
-seizures
-possibly coma.
Contrary to previous understanding, what can still occur while having heat stroke?
Sweating
Treatment for heat stroke includes?
-Seek immediate emergency medical attention
-immediately cool down the patient as fast as possible
-move the person to shade, pour cold water over their body, fan them, or even place them into a cold body of water AS LONG AS THEIR HEAD IS PROTECTED FROM SUBMERSION.
-remove tight-fitting clothing as needed
While sweating can be significant and may contribute to dehydration, oftentimes dehydration is a result of what?
not drinking enough fluid.
Water should be ingested with additional electrolytes (sodium, potassium) either in the form of _____ _____ or a ________ ________.
salty snacks; sports beverage
Dehydration can be a serious illness that may result in what?
renal (kidney) failure, heat exhaustion/stroke, and shock.
An individual that is thought to be dehydrated and is exhibiting altered mental status, a rapid/weak heart rate, or other severe symptoms may require what?
aggressive medical management. Consider requesting advanced life support resources as necessary
Helicopters can be a blessing on a SAR mission, but they are inherently what?
very dangerous
How much may a helicopter main rotor (the one on top) flex?
2.5 to 3 feet.
As with any helicopter, do not do what?
DO NOT APPROACH THE HELICOPTER UNTIL CLEARED BY EITHER THE PILOT OR THE CREW CHIEF.
From what angle should you approach a helicopter?
the sides, definitely not the front or from behind. see the diagram on page 31 for detailed explanation.
When approaching or departing a helicopter, do not carry anything higher than what point of your body?
over your shoulder or higher than eye level
-if you have a bulky pack, carry it in front of you, no higher than eye level
Do not do what with clothing while under the rotating blades of a helicopter?
try to put on or take off a jacket, shirt, vest, etc.
If you and your team are being transported to your assignment via helicopter, _______ keep your gear with you _______ _______ ________
ALWAYS; at all times. Do not allow your gear to be transported on a separate trip
When operating a helicopter door, what should you keep in mind?
-if you have not been briefed on how to operate the doors, leave them alone
-do not force a door open and do not attempt to force a door to close
-do not slam the door when you close it
-do not mistake a door 'jettison' handle for a door 'operating' handle
Personnel working in and around the helicopter MUST use what kind of protection?
hearing protection and eye protection
with helicopter landing zones, ideally how far away should the nearest wires be to the site?
Ideally, there should be no wires within 1/4 to 1/2 miles of the LZ
How far away from a helicopter landing zone should all vehicles, animals, and unauthorized persons remain?
150 to 200 yards
With helicopters, at the first sign of trouble, ....
HIT THE GROUND. A helicopter that is coming apart throws metal every direction.
If the helicopter has landed on a slope, never approach it from which side (relative to the slope)?
the uphill side
Define POA
Probability of Area - the estimated probability, expressed as a percentage, that the segment contains the subject.
Define POD
Probability of Detection - the estimated probability that a team searching a given segment would have found the subject if that segment actually contained the subject.
What factors influence Probability of Detection?
- type of search resource used (foot teams, vehicle teams, helicopters, canine team, mounted team, etc.)
- environment (day vs. night, overcast vs. bright sunlight, rain vs. clear, heavy forest vs. high desert, weather, etc)
-effort expended in the area (time spent searching and the search technique used)
- the object the searchers are looking for
Define POS
Probability of Success - the probability that a subject will be located. This is expressed as POA X POD = POS
What information should you expect to receive in a team brief?
- specific information about the subject
- assigned search area, the tactis and techniques to be used, and associated maps
- the communications plan
- the "death code" (a phrase used to communicate to Incident Base that the search team has located a deceased subject - see Chapter 2)
-safety and hazard information and the rescue plan
- location of the media and/or family
- any other information the ICS Staff feels you will need to know
What are the two principal approaches of search strategies?
passive (indirect) and active (direct)
what are some passive search approaches?
- fact-finding/investigation
- attraction
- containment/confinement
When using noise as an attraction technique, what is important to do after making the noise?
observe a period of complete silence
What is the technique of containment/confinement designed to do?
prevent the subject from leaving the search area undetected
Containment/confinement includes what?
-blocks on roads or trails
-blocks or camps at choke-points along travel routes
-patrols along search region boundaries (perimeter search) looking for the subject
-lookouts on high points
-establishing "track traps" on areas of possible travel. These traps will need to be checked regularly to determine if they have been disturbed.
What are the two key tactics of active search approaches?
hasty search and segment search
What are typical assignments in a hasty search?
-checking the immediate area, trails, roads, buildings, campsites, and other high probability areas
- checking the last known point (LKP) where the subject was last known to be
- chekcing the Point Last Seen (PLS) for clues to the subject's direction of travel, tracks, and other data that could be helpful
- hiking along and beside trails the subject might have taken and looking for clues including determining possible decisions points where the subject could have gotten off trail
- checking attraction features such as buildings, trails, roads, water sources or drainages that might have attracted the subject or that might yield clues. (AKA Points of Interest or Spot Searches)
What are some segment search tactics?
route search
grid search
loos grid search
tight grid search
evidence search
expanding circle
sound sweep
purposeful wandering
Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) Search
Experience shows that searchers spend a disproportionate amount of time looking in which directions?
forward and to the right
What is the "Searcher Cube"?
The space all around you, you must look up, down, left, right, and even behind you.
If you concentrate on only finding the subject, what important signs might you neglect?
-indicators left deliberately by the subject
-bits of gear dropped accidentally or shed in an attempt to lighten the load
-trash dropped
-subtle indicators left by moving through the area, e.g. broken branches
What is the most common clue left by subjects?
footprints
What are two helpful tricks for locating footprints?
-use a raking light, a light held as close to the ground as possible
-look for track traps: areas where ground conditions are particularly conducive to creating and holding footprints
Handling clues: If you find a clue....
-First, determine whether the object you find is something relevant
-Second, don't disturb the clue
-Mark around the object
If asked to bring the clue to Incident Base, record the position it was found and take precautions found on page 44 of the March 1, 2016 Study Guide and/or as directed by your leadership
What is the most common map scale used in SAR?
1:24,000, meaning one inch on the map equals 24,000 inches on the ground
this is also equal to 2,000 ft, or the distance you can walk in about 6 minutes at 4 miles per hour
In map terminology, what does "large scale" and "small scale" mean?
Large scale= large detail
small scale = small detail
i.e. a map of the entire earth is small scale because it can show less detail
What two coordinate, or grid systems are used by NMSAR?
Latitude-Longitude and Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM)
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