[MSAR] Home Land Security
Jorene at CEOates.com
Thu Mar 25 02:01:19 EST 2004
I thought I'd do some follow-up here in case Terry's report and Brenda's information isn't enough to get people thinking very strongly about how SAR / MSAR might be useful in a disaster.
SAR/MSAR already has very good basic training suited to disaster response, and even come equipped to be self-sustaining for at least 24 hours. SAR personnel [should already] have ICS training, at least fundamental medical training and carry basic First Aid supplies, are familiar with radio communications and may carry their own radio, carry food and water (and potential to provide their own shelter), know how to read a map and navigate, potentially carry a GPS, etc. ... which makes them a very good resource in at least a supporting role in many disaster incidents. If SAR teams choose to add additional skill sets, they just become more versatile.
Because I am aware of the needs of different kinds of disasters, I am also aware of various kinds of assistance that basic SAR / MSAR could readily provide ... with not much more than a good briefing needed before deployment. And since in a disaster the local professional resources have potential to become quickly overwhelmed, any organized group with skill sets that can be utilized related to that incident is a huge advantage.
Without pre-planning that group will be less effective ... if only due to the deployment delayed by a longer briefing being required to bring SAR management - and then SAR / MSAR responders - up to speed on how to apply their existing skills for that incident. If SAR Management is part of the County pre-planning, they will already be aware of what kinds of roles SAR personnel might play during different kinds of incidents ... and can be prepared. And yes, there is opportunity for MSAR.
People who are active in SAR/MSAR tend to have a "that others may live" mindset. If SAR is not called out, I'd not be surprised to see SAR personnel show up as spontaneous volunteers at a nearby disaster incident. If you've ever dealt with coordinating spontaneous volunteers - or even been part of resource management at a larger incident with multiple agency response - you'll be very aware that management of resources is substantially easier and more effective if the personnel arrive with some kind of management structure in place. (This is the reason ICS / NIMS exists.)
It is far more advantageous for SAR to respond in an organized manner, via call-out, with SAR Management in place. If Disaster Management is aware the resource is en route, plans can be in place for more effective utilization of that resource. But Disaster Management also needs to be aware of what kinds of options are best suited to that resource, and without prior communication on the subject SAR would very likely be under-used for the available skill sets.
This communication at the management level is particularly important if the SAR team has some technical rescue training, higher level of medical, etc., and carries the related equipment. If the MSAR team has pack animals, which could be useful in some disaster situations, would Disaster Management currently even be aware that resource exists, much less how they might be used effectively? Are any team members trained higher than basic First Aid? Wouldn't it be nice if the SAR/MSAR EMT wasn't assigned to traffic control during a disaster with multiple injured overwhelming local medical resources?
In my perception, it is not only logical but critical that SAR Management be part of local disaster planning ... even if SAR teams have no interest in additional training more specific to disasters. But I also see serious advantages for at least basic cross-training of SAR in Disaster, and anticipate that SAR will evolve in that direction. For example, a volunteer resource that is trained in both SAR and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) would bring together the urban and more rural search and rescue skill sets for far more versatile and effective response.
What is the local potential during a SAR for finding the subject somehow trapped? (Just inside a mine, landslide, old structure collapsed, etc.) Does the SAR / MSAR team have training to safely extract that person? Basic CERT training would provide those skills. In CA, at the State level, SAR cross-trained for disaster is already officially recommended, with CERT recommended as a good place to start. (20 hours of training.) CERT is entry level Basic Urban SAR - a volunteer training through Homeland Security being offered around the USA and even in some overseas locations. Even if the team isn't interested in the training, individuals might be. And all it takes is 1 person with some training on how to deal with that problem to guide the rest into successful resolution.
In some disaster incidents the SAR skill sets may not be as valuable as the available equipment. For example, in some situations it would be very advantageous to have 4wd vehicles for transport, trailers to haul supplies, etc. Often SAR/MSAR teams can provide this kind of resource. Some teams have communications set up in a mobile CP, and multiple radios, which could also be advantageous. MSAR could assist in evacuation of equine - this was done in some areas during the recent So CA fires. The list goes on, depending on how local SAR is willing / able to participate.
But if Disaster Management isn't aware of the SAR resource options, they won't know to ask for them and include that potential in pre-planning. If SAR Management in your operational area isn't participating in Emergency Planning ... you might want to give that person a strong nudge. ;)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tulare Co, CA
SAR, MSAR, Swiftwater Rescue, US&R,
Technical Rescue, Cave Rescue,
Hasty Team, ICP
Tulare-Kings CERT Program Coordinator
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the MSAR-Riders