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.
“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.