We recently had the opportunity to attend a rope training with the Summit County Search and Rescue. We work with many search and rescue teams and law enforcement departments across the country, but it is always great to support the local teams and see how they train.
Summit County SAR are all volunteers and work under the Sheriff's office and they respond to 80-100 calls each year. Summit County is 1,882 square miles (including parts of the High Uinta Wilderness) and is nearly twice the size of Rhode Island and almost as large as Delaware. The High Uinta Wilderness includes the highest peak in Utah, Kings Peak (13,528 ft) and is rugged terrain. This leads to many varied search and rescue scenarios which they face including, swift water rescue and recovery, high-angle rescue and recovery, large geographic search and recovery, deployment of snowmobiles, snow cats, ATVs, UTVs, boats, ROVs (underwater unmanned drone) and deployment and tracking with dog teams.
The rope training that we attended was demonstrating a new rope and pulley system that allows them to more efficiently lift a victim out of a dangerous situation. In the past, to lift someone out of a ravine, they would need to tie off to a vehicle or tree and would need 3-4 people using the old pulley system to lift the person out.
Utilizing their new system, one person is able to do the same work as the previous 3 or 4. Plus, they don't need to have someone managing the excess rope. It automatically self-arrests if needed. As you can see from some of the photos, they were able to pull a 3/4 ton truck up the slight incline. A person would be light work compared to the truck.
After they went through the rope and pulley training, they did a refresher on strapping an accident victim, “Fred”, to a spineboard. For someone who has never seen one these up close, it was interesting, and a little frightening, to see how the person is lashed to the board.
Before calling it a night, Josh McReavy showed us some of the gear they carry on their emergencies. They utilize the Velox Quick Action Backpack to carry their harness, radios, med kits, and a lot more. Seeing how dirty and dusty the bag was, you get an idea of the conditions these men and women work in.
They also use the 85L Smuggler Duffel Bag for their swift water rescue gear. “These bags work great for storing all of our water gear,” says Josh. “When you get called out, you don't have time to find all of your gear. It is nice that I can grab the bag that has the equipment I need for that particular rescue.”
Watching the training and seeing the amount of knowledge and skill these men and women have makes me appreciate them all the more. I just hope we never meet when I would need their help, but if we do, I will be incredibly grateful for all of their training.
Most of their equipment comes from grants and donations. If you would like to help them out, you can donate at fscsar.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kirk is the Marketing Director at 3V Gear and is an active outdoors man. When not working, you will often find him in the Utah mountains biking, hiking, camping, skiing, or trail running. He likes to travel the world with his wife, exploring new cultures and meeting interesting people, all the while photographing everything he sees.