On Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Unit (DCSAR) recently provided a lesson in outdoor survival to students at Carson Valley Middle School.
Search and Rescue Members Merrilyn Noble, Rich Alexander, Dirk Goering, Carol Caman and Anne Harris provided the instruction. As part of the training, students learned an easily remembered acronym of ‘STOP’ which stands for:
Stay put. – Take a moment to calm yourself. Staying put is often the best choice.
Think. – Think what you can do to more easily be located and found; think also of
how you will obtain food, water, and shelter.
Observe. – Look around. What resources are available for your use?
Plan. – Develop a plan for survival and rescue.
Survival techniques that were taught to the kids included:
– Making themselves more visible by waving a bright piece of clothing or other material to attract the attention of rescuers, or tying smaller pieces of bright colored clothing or material to branches of nearby trees for easy observation.
– Making a large X on the ground with branches or stones that can be seen from the air.
– Seeking temporary refuge that provides shelter but doesn’t conceal your presence from rescuers.
Students also learned how to properly equip and prepare themselves for outdoor survival before they head out on any hike or camping trip; including bringing such things as: water & light snacks, a whistle, small flashlight, and a folded plastic garbage bag (kept in a pocket) that can be used as temporary protection from the elements in an emergency.
As part of the class, DCSAR K9 handler Dirk Goering and his K9 “Gelert’ provided a demonstration of how dog teams work in the field to assist Search and Rescue teams in locating missing persons.
Douglas County Search and Rescue volunteers are available to present their STOP program to school age children throughout Douglas County as a free public service to help educate children on lessening their chance of becoming lost in the wilderness, and what to do to help search teams find them if they should become lost.
Persons interested in the training should contact DCSAR STOP Coordinator Merrilyn Noble at 775-782-9930.