Out of the woods

An­napo­lis County SAR team gets new gear, train­ing


Mem­bers of An­napo­lis County Ground Search and Res­cue got some new gear and a day-long ses­sion on how to use it Sun­day.

Tom Fitz­patrick, pres­i­dent of Nova Sco­tia Ground Search and Res­cue As­so­ci­a­tion and project man­ager for the SAR New Ini­tia­tive Fund­ing Pro­gram, dropped by the Lawrencetown fire hall with a new lit­ter, a hy­pother­mia bag, and a wheeled de­vice for mov­ing a pa­tient out of the woods.

“Ev­ery year the na­tional SAR Sec­re­tariat in Ot­tawa sets pri­or­i­ties for search and res­cue across Canada and what the prov­inces do is sub­mit pro­pos­als for projects,” said Fitz­patrick. “This project was ac­tu­ally sub­mit­ted in 2015 to pro­vide all 23 search and res­cues teams in Nova Sco­tia with stan­dard­ized wilder­ness evac­u­a­tion equip­ment and to teach them all stan­dard pro­ce­dures to evac­u­ate in­jured or hurt peo­ple from the woods of Nova Sco­tia.”

The idea is to get ev­ery­body on the same page provincewide, and if teams end up work­ing to­gether on a search, they’re all us­ing the same equip­ment and pro­ce­dures.

“All 23 teams in the prov­ince have been is­sued ex­actly the same equip­ment that’s been iden­ti­fied to work in Nova Sco­tia and ev­ery­one of them have been trained by the ex­act same pro­ce­dures so that that they can work in­ter­op­er­a­ble to each other in the ef­fort to get some­body out of the woods safely.”


There were 21 mem­bers of ACGSAR at the train­ing ses­sion Sun­day, in­clud­ing three new mem­bers. Search man­ager Kent Molyneaux said the equip­ment and pro­ce­dures are ap­pli­ca­ble to An­napo­lis County searches.

He re­mem­bers a search a few years ago where they found a lost man af­ter he’d been out in the rain for a for a long time and was hy­pother­mic.

“We didn’t have this equip­ment there with us then,” said Molyneaux. “The evac­u­a­tion equip­ment would have been great at that point be­cause we ended up go­ing through about 300 yards of swamp to get any­place where we could get out. If we’d had some­thing there we could have wrapped him up and kept him dry.”

He said all they had were rain jack­ets and dry clothes but no way of keep­ing the clothes dry while they evac­u­ated him.

The Gear

“We’ve pur­chased the Ad­van­tage Lit­ter, a polypropy­lene lit­ter that’s able to lift up to 2,500 pounds,” said Fitz­patrick, “and within that a hy­pother­mia man­age­ment bag that helps pro­tect the per­son from the en­vi­ron­ment. It also has a shield, pa­tient cover, and a wheeled mule that goes un­der­neath it to help the car­ry­ing process.”

Fitz­patrick and sev­eral in­struc­tors started the day off with in­tro­duc­ing ACGSAR mem­bers to the new equip­ment and show­ing them what the equip­ment is ca­pa­ble of do­ing.

“Keep­ing safety is a key point and mak­ing sure the mem­bers use proper body me­chan­ics be­cause in emer­gency re­sponse quite of­ten we have a lot of peo­ple with back in­juries. So we’re try­ing to teach these folks to do it safely and elim­i­nate those back in­juries.”

An­napo­lis County Ground Search and Res­cue, with al­most 60 mem­bers, cel­e­brated its 40th an­niver­sary last fall. Fol­low them on Face­book at https:// www.face­book.com/acgsar/


Provin­cial in­struc­tors demon­strate how to wrap a hy­pother­mic pa­tient in a lit­ter be­fore evac­u­a­tion from the woods. An­napo­lis County Ground Search and Res­cue re­ceived some new equip­ment March 12 and a day-long train­ing ses­sion on how to use it. Train­ing took place at the Lawrencetown fire hall.

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