The Search & Rescue (SAR) division of the Sheriff’s Office hosted its first annual survival weekend for new volunteers.
This event was the third and final component of a multi-weekend series of training and field exercises.
The exercise began Friday night, April 15th, with a pack check to ensure participants had all necessary equipment. The next morning, participants met at the SAR building located in the North Valley Industrial Park and loaded into SAR vehicles that included a 52-passenger bus driven by Sheriff Gilbertson.
Seventy-two members and new recruits participated in the overnight field exercise. It covered search techniques, radio communications, and navigation by map, compass and Global Position System (GPS). Participants also tested their 24-hour survival packs and endured the cold, wet conditions.
Participants camped on a 200-acre, privately owned parcel graciously offered for use by the owner.
Participants were broken into eight teams and performed mock searches for both live and unresponsive subjects. They sharpened their tracking skills by searching for evidence and clues planted in their search areas by the search managers.
The training process started in late February and included over 20 hours of classroom instruction as well as a land navigation exercise conducted at Fish Hatchery Park in early March.
This year’s academy was significantly changed from prior years, in order to meet state requirements and also to provide participants with more hands-on experience to enhance their understanding of the skills needed by SAR volunteers.
For more information about Josephine County Search & Rescue, contact SAR coordinator Sara Rubrecht, at 541-474-5301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also visit our Josephine County Search & Rescue blog.