My Introduction to Search and Rescue

I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast since I was a kid and my dad would take me out hiking and camping.  With that I’ve learned to do these as safe as I can, always letting someone know where I’ll be and when to expect me back, I bring plenty of water and plenty of other gear to
help out if I get in a jam.  After I arrived at Davis-Monthan in Tucson Arizona and got settled in I was trying to find a way to give back to the community that also played into that love for the outdoors.  After doing a lot of small one time volunteer things like organizing hikes and
volunteering at national parks for various events I just found myself wanting to contribute more.  That’s when I came across the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA).  This organization is in charge of providing assistance to the local county sheriff’s department in performing search and rescue operations in Southern Arizona.
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After being accepted into their candidate program we began a rigorous training program in which 25 people logged over 250 hours each in just 10 months.  The training covered everything from technical rope systems to outdoor emergency care training.  There were many weekends and late nights when I had to remind myself that I was doing all of this to help someone, anyone, that might need it in the future and that I am making a deference in my community.  Additionally, all of the medical training made it so I was better able to assist with medical emergencies that I may encounter wherever I go.  All thought this training my wife Jessica, our 6 year old daughter and our newborn stuck with me; even though they didn’t like to see me gone so much, they knew that what I was doing was important

Since graduating training in May I’ve been able to attend over 12 call outs that that illustrate some of the most prominent hazards that Arizona has to offer.  The first call I assisted with was to assist a hiker that was suffering from heat exhaustion and dehydration.  We ended up hiking about two miles with all of our rescue gear in 105 degree weather to the patient.  After rehydrating the individual we were able to walk him out.  Another call that I assisted with had me as the medical lead, coordinating a helicopter pick up and then escorting two other people and four dogs out of very hazardous terrain.  To date I have affected 17 peoples lives and hopefully made participating in outdoor actives just a little safer.

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All of these call outs made all 250+ hours of training worth it, even if I’m not the person who found someone or handed them some Gatorade, I was part of a team that provided help in wilderness emergency situations.

To find out more about this amazing non-profit organization go to http://www.sarci.org/ or you can comment on this post.

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