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Search and Rescue/Emergency Preparedness MBs Exercise Ideas needed

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Hi all,


This is my first post, and I hope it is well received:


I'm the SPL for a troop that needs to do a SAR exercise on our next campout. I have most of the details ironed out, but one big one has been nagging me. I want it to be realistic, with as minimal available info as possible, but I don't know what the Scouts should look for. I think there should be at least one person on site as a 'victim,' but I want it to be more than just a guy lying in the woods. Any ideas? 





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First of all welcome to the forum.


Every city and county has an emergency response team.  Police departments have amber alert protocol.  Civil Air Patrol has their aerial search processes to search expansive amounts of area from the air.


BadWolf had some other local departments that he tapped into maybe others out there would remember those comments and training opportunities he discussed.


Local ambulance and fire departments have protocols for disaster situations.


I don't know if there is any ONE over all authority that coordinates all these agencies into a search and rescue operation, but I wold start with the local police, fire and medical personnel to see if you can chase down some of these different operations and see how they fit into an overall picture for search and rescue operations in your area.


I used to be part of the medical focus, but never did the search part, more of the rescue stuff.  As a kid I was in Civil Air Patrol, which did the searching, but wasn't then involved in any rescue operations.  :)   

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@@afbrat52, welcome to the forum!


I would definitely follow Stosh's suggestion and let the police or fire department in your community know what you are trying to do. They might show up with some "tools" hat would interest your boys. But they may have ideas on how to beef up your exercise.


One I would suggest is that your boys try start with a search of a moving target. (Someone who panics and doesn't find a place to sit, but keeps moving in circles.) Then they should try and find a target who gets lost and acts the way a scout should when lost.

Edited by qwazse
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  • 2 months later...

Hopefully by now, your session has been a success........


If I may, For the past month or so, been working on an inclement weather program for our outpost climbing program which includes a lot of thinking outside of the box. The reason being, is that the Climbing Merit badge offers nothing in the way of self rescue, as well as  a number of critical climbing skills.  I'll toss out a scenario for folks to ponder on for a while.... here's the problem ...your solution?


-  Five man team consisting of four novice climbers with limited experience 

-  Last pitch of a multi abseil retreat requiring 80 percent of the rope's length (60 meters) to complete

-  Vertical face rated at A3.5. 

-  Injured Climber

-  Damaged rope (crampon cut into core)  that won't hold a climber's weight.  

Edited by le Voyageur
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Was member of SAR team for a decade or so. 


There is only one victim but the victim leaves many clues.  SAR teams don't look for victims, they look for clues that become a trail to the victim.  Victims often drop and leave behind what would seem very important items.  Clothes, packs, food, etc.  Victims always go to water.  Something as small as a puddle is all it takes. 


Victims do things that don't make logical sense. They will enter a trail into the woods that heads downhill.  They panic and instead of following the trail uphill, they will go farther downhill and towards water.   Tracked a mother/son team.  They entered woods across the street from their house at dusk.  Mom was afraid of the dark, son did not take his meds.  Son was relying on Mom to act rational but she could not.  Son could not help due to lack of meds.  They made some real odd choices.  As we followed their trail, we could see street lights 100-150 yards away.  They walked farther into the woods.  They carried their bikes through briars and a swamp instead of staying on the trail. 


If you are setting up a scenario, the victim should leave a trail of dropped items.  Food wrappers, a glove here, a hat there, bandanna, whistle, empty canteen, etc.  They can leave foot prints in soft ground.  They can break small branches at waist to ground level.  Crushed vegetation, scuffed leaves, are clues someone went that way. 


Contact the local Sheriffs office about SAR.  If they don't do it, they know who they call.  Also see if there is a local NASAR chapter in your area. 

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Tracking used to be a T-FC requirement in Scouting.  I guess the powers to be don't think such skill fits the STEM requirements of today. 


For the past two weeks I have been deer hunting on my 9 acres.  I know where every deer trail, every bedding area, and every graze and water source used by the local herd.  All that and I don't have to fork over the big bucks for trail cameras either.  I can also tell you where every squirrel area is and how many squirrels one will see if they sit in any place on those 9 acres. 


I also document every time anyone tresspassess on my land without permission as well.  Blazed out walking trails and marked the boundaries of my land and my two neighbors with their permission.  I don't need a compass because I know the land, but for fine tuning the boundaries, it is very practical. 


I have my deer this year, my two neighbors with the trail cams are still working on theirs.... :)


I has always surprised me now much outdoor woodsman skills I use on a daily basis.  Taking a class this weekend on tanning hides..... Never too old to learn.

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