The phrase “Search And Rescue” (SAR) can be synonymous with the word “training”. SAR training is wide-ranging but also focused; initial but more frequently repetitive. SAR training is also…continuous. Honestly, some of it can get a little old after a while, “We just worked on this knot or that first aid procedure a couple weeks ago!” (which turns out to have actually been a number of months ago). The truth is that many SAR skillsets are perishing commodities, i.e. if you don’t use the skill you lose it. Not only is “repetition the key to learning”, it is also the key to retaining one’s SAR skills.

As such, all the Team Members get excited when upcoming training involves a new tool in the Tool Box. None more exciting than the recent addition of Carson City Sheriff’s Search And Rescue’s new Polaris UTV “SAM1”! Intended as a “first out” resource, SAM1 has the ability to switch seasonally from rubber tires to rubber tracks, is completely enclosed with full heat and air-conditioning, and has been purpose built to handle a litter and litter attendant in the rear bed.

Both formal (classroom) and field (practical) training is required for a Carson City Sheriff’s SAR member to be qualified to operate this type of equipment.

Classroom training includes: Owner’s Manual review (boring but necessary), review of standard operations and after market equipment, training videos, and group input/lessons learned from personal experience with like vehicles (the very best way to learn a hard lesson is from someone else’s mistake).

Field training, as developed by our Motors lead Lee, includes a complete walk around for Preventative Maintenance purposes (member performed monthly PMs are done on all the vehicles), followed by a driving practical, then a ride in both the rear Attendant Seat and in the litter to get a feel for how a trip would be for a patient. (I am happy to report that the “patient’s” ride is much more comfortable than the Attendant’s). The driving practical includes backing between cones, hill climbing, stopping and starting on a hill, side-hilling (not a good place to be), driving with the Attendant and patient in place, and parking the vehicle in the Command Trailer.

Outfitting for SAM1 is still in-work with the focus being vehicle self-rescue and patient support. The Rubicons, SAM2 and 3, are also considered “first out” resources and roll with a heavier load out of support equipment. The F-250 SAM7 is rope rescue focused while the F-150 SAM8 provides focused support in the water rescue roll. The Chevy Tahoe “Command Unit” ties all the incident efforts together with multiple radios, computers, mobile wi-fi, planning documents, maps, etc.

Carson City Sheriff’s SAR would like to thank Mayor Bagwell and Carson City for the funding that provided SAM1. Our members would also like to recognize and thank the Berger Family Trust, Southwest Gas, and Nevada Energy for their funding or direct vehicle donations to this Team’s efforts.

Closing out the training event the Team made a stop at Vice Commander Jeff’s home for a quick visit. Many readers already know that Jeff is battling cancer. Jeff and Kristy are back home after a three month stay near Stanford University Medical Center. The battle continues with the staunch support of his family, many friends, the community, and his SAR Team.