Friday, December 28, 2007

UN 2007 climate rescue efforts

Global warming brings busy year for UN disaster teams

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Thursday December 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

The United Nations office that sends expert teams around the world to help governments deal with natural disasters was busier than ever in Latin America this year, a fact it at least partially blames on climate change.

Monday, December 24, 2007

More from the CSM

Hi All,
Here is an accolade from the field for Jay Perez, a former Unity student.
He is one of many outstanding young women and men making the name Unity College
well known around the country.

Have a great holiday season
Pat Stevens

"On 9 May 2007, at approximately 1015 hours, Refuge Officer Jay Perez was
on routine patrol in the visitor parking area of the National Wildlife Visitor Center at Patuxent Research Refuge, Laurel, MD. He observed a man running from the wildlife observation trail with fresh blood on his shirt, yelling that someone on the boardwalk had been stabbed. Officer Perez quickly located a woman lying on the trail’s boardwalk, bleeding profusely. Officer Perez immediately radioed in his position, requesting medical assistance and backup. While waiting for medical response, Officer Perez applied direct pressure to the victim’s wounds. His actions and demeanor quickly calmed her down, whereupon he was able to obtain critical information that later led to the capture of the assailant. Given the seriousness of the woman’s injuries and extensive loss of blood, emergency personnel on scene did not believe the woman would survive the Medi-Vac helicopter ride to the Baltimore Shock Trauma Unit. Fortunately, she did survive, and after four surgeries on her neck and numerous complications, is expected to fully recover. Clearly, without Officer Perez’ quick response and proper actions in rendering the victim first-aid, she would have succumbed to her injuries. Additionally, without Officer Perez’s calming influence and presence to talk to the victim while waiting for medical help, the assailant would not have been captured so quickly.

For his role in saving the victim’s life, as well as getting critical information leading to the capture of the assailant, Refuge Officer Jay Perez is awarded the Department of the Interior Exemplary Act Award."

Congratulations, Jay!
Thomas A. Goettel
Regional Refuge Law Enforcement Chief
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
National Wildlife Refuge System
300 Westgate Center Dr.
Hadley, MA 01035-9589

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pic of the day...

Some non-action shots from Charlie, taken at our recent HA training.

Another note from the CSM...

From Pat to all, some notes from CLE alumni:

Hi all,

Here are a couple of notes that I have received recently from Unity women and men serving in the field. Best of luck, and Happy Holidays to all of our young people.

Re: Rob Goodrich (2003), Byran Schliecter (2001) on the Border Patrol, and Rebecca Coles (2004) NPS

Re: Rebecca Coles (Duckett) (2004) NPS Park Ranger reports: On December 7th 2007 at 1:34 AM received what they consider the best Christmas present- The son of Ranger Jeff Duckett, NPS and Rebecca Coles (Duckett), a possible future alum, one Isaac Nathaniel Duckett was born. Both are stationed in NC, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.US BORDER PATROL NEWS

Pat, I just wanted to say thanks for everything. I am in week 15 at FLETC in Artesia, NM and am loving it. I will be working Tucson Sector for the USBP. I just wanted to write to say thanks, and if any students have interest in the BP and have questions about the academy, or the process feel free to give them my email or phone number. 207-446-9691.

Again I just wanted to say thanks so much.

Byran graduated last week, and I graduate in two days. I got top driver in my class, and came in third in my class overall. Byran placed first in his class. He is stationed in Yuma, AZ and I will be in Sonoita, AZ.
CONGRATULATIONS! on retirement.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Link to the recent BDN article...

Unity: Students part of search, rescue service
By George Chappell
Thursday, November 22, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

UNITY, Maine — Whenever a call comes in about someone lost in the woods, Unity College students show up to help with search and rescue operations.

Still more on Byron...

I hate to say so, but there's becoming a slight controversy over his GPS unit, and whether it was working, or he knew how to use it. We won't comment on this individual case here (none of our business), but the articles are linked below for general SAR education purposes.

Wright blames GPS; wardens say device worked properly

Staff Report
Friday, December 7, 2007
LEWISTON - High-tech devices might not be for everyone.

Steven Wright, the 53-year-old deer hunter from Vermont who spent nearly three days lost in the woods surrounding Tumbledown Mountain near Byron this week faulted his Garmin Extreme GPS unit for getting him in trouble.

Hunter's route was circuitous, data shows

Sun Journal Staff
Saturday, December 8, 2007

LEWISTON - If Steven Wright were a mountain goat, a person may be able to understand the course he took during his first 24 hours lost in the Maine woods.

Investigators from the Maine Warden Service are still analyzing the data in the Global Positioning System device Wright was carrying when he became lost near Tumbledown Mountain in northern Franklin County while hunting deer on Monday.

Hunter tells survival tale
Steve Wright recounts his harrowing story of being lost in the Maine woods.

By BETTY JESPERSEN Blethen Maine News Service

December 7, 2007

Last of the new recruits...

Today is the last day for CLE Lab Finals, essentially a map-reading exercise. Students have to demonstrate that they met the outcomes of the class, basically that they can read maps and orient them to terrain, use a compass from map to ground and ground to map, adjust correctly for magnetic declination each way, and both give and use an 8-figure UTM. Pat Stevens set these objectives years ago, cribbing from his NCO school materials. Tim added a Warden's Service spin, now I get to implement. My attitude with these students is a personal tribute to Sgt Hamilton "Hammy" Anderson, RAFMRS, who once permitted me to descend all the way into the valley of Thirlmere (Lake District NP) when I should have been ascending the mountain of Fairfield, about three miles and 1,500 feet of altitude away. Once the fog lifted, I discovered where I was and had to retreat back to my start point, which took a good two hours of hard hiking. Hammy knew exactly where we were the whole time. Thanks, Hammy, for making me learn the hard way.

To pass, todays students have to demonstrate that they can find a point in adverse conditions, under pressure, using all their skills. The first group went up Harris Mountain in the dark and the rain. Since then we've been in the Sandy Stream valley in a foot of snow, bushwhacking in heavy brush. Most have done well. Some didn't practice enough on their own. Tough. This is a new reality TV show we call "so you want to be a Game Warden/Park Ranger." Think it'll catch on?

Review of "Mountain Rescue" by Sharp and Whiteside

There are very few MR books on my shelf. Once I had a precious copy of Gwen Moffatt's Two Star Red, gold for any ex-RAFMRS troop, but some student borrowed it never to return (now I keep a record of such things). I have an inscribed copy of Frank Card's Whensoever, of which I am very proud. That's all she wrote. But this new book by Sharp and Whiteside is going to join the pack. It may take me a while, because being an import it's expensive (I'm reading a library copy), but it's a great book. Packed with great photography and very informative, its also a celebration of volunteer SAR. I particularly appreciated the coverage of the RAFMRS, which sometimes doesn't get its due in civilian MR discourse in the UK. The 2001 Ben MacDui twin F-15 crash is described in detail, with full credit to the Braemar and other "civvy" teams involved. I'm just now getting to the chapter on the Lockerbie Air Disaster, which has interview and other material from Heavy and Bill Batson, the two team leaders.

Awesome read. Well done, the authors.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

From the "CSM"

Former UC Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement (and former CSM) Pat Stevens sent the following note and some pictures of his new home. Pat is now writing a textbook on CLE. Cheers Pat!

Hi Mick,

Hope that the semester is going along well. Here are a couple of shots that I made of an ancient graveyard, the house, the island ponies, British Naval Officer, and the view from the second deck of my future home. Retirement remains a strange happening, I periodically become bored without a class in front of me, but with my Civil War research, and effort on behalf of the Intro to CLE book, I am fighting the good fight.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Students getting ready to go for the break

Finals week! Good time to be a professor. Not so good time to be a student.

One problem in running a college SAR team is that students go home for vacation several times a year. But UCSAR is still on call, and many of the most dedicated members are available to respond to a search.

Have a good break everyone, but don't forget to email me your contact info if you are willing to be called to a search.


UK floods cost 3 bn, break SAR record

Of course, in 1945, we were still at war, the RAFMRS was two years old, and the first helicopters were only just coming into service, and would not actually be used in SAR for years to come.

Downpours cost £3bn, says agency

John Vidal
The Guardian,
Friday December 7 2007
Some of the wettest weather in modern times flooded more than 55,000 properties, cost £3bn, saw the highest river levels in 60 years and involved the greatest number of search and rescue missions in the country since 1945, the Environment Agency said yesterday in its review of the summer floods.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

SAR and Climate Change

Your blogmeister grew up in Hallam Ward, Sheffield, England (cue Monty Python's old Yorkshireman sketch: "when ah were a lad we lived in a cardboard box in't middle o' t'road"), while Aimee grew up in an analogous American region close to Pittsberg PA. We both lived in a "two-up, two down" until we were about 11 years old, hers clapboard, mine Millstone Grit. This explains a lot of things, but particularly why we don't mind living in an old farmhouse miles away from nowhere with a bunch of sheep. It seems kind of luxurious to both of us.

Now my hometown MP, Nick Clegg, who also happens to be in line for the leadership of his party, the UK Libdems, has issued a call for a new civil defense structure for the UK. I've been saying for several years now, to whoever would listen, that the first effects of climate change we would see in much of the northern hemisphere will be increasing numbers of extreme weather events, and that community-based emergency response efforts would become more and more critical as years went by. For me personally, it's been deja vu all over again, as my former life as an SAR professional reunites with my current life as a climate mitigation specialist. Witness recent events in Washington State (floods), San Diego (fires), and Sheffield itself (floods). Never mind New Orleans. It's been both interesting and frustrating to watch these events unfold. As always, our leaders have feet of clay, and they fixate on the wrong thing, or miss the point.

Maine happens to be a place where civil emergencies go down quietly, if at all. As part of the SAR scene in this state (this note is crossed posted on my Maine SAR site and my sustainability site, I get to be at quite a lot of emergencies. We have a good head for these things in Maine. The officials are quietly competent, the volunteers generally well-trained or at least enthusiastic, and there are lots of resources distributed widely around the state. Some of this is a credit to Unity College, of course, because we train a lot of the law enforcement types, particularly the Maine Wardens who are responsible for search and rescue, and not a few state officials and business leaders are also Unity grads or linked to the college in some way.

Mainers also tend to have lots of useful stuff in the heads (first aid, mechanics, common sense), their homes (wood stoves, oil lamps, generators, flashlights), and their trucks (four-wheel drive, snow plows, winches, jumper cables). In a word, a good ecological word, Maine is resilient. How you take a place like London or NYC and make it so, is another question. But an important one.

Read the whole article here:
A new civil defence force would defeat the politics of fear
Nick Clegg
Sunday December 9, 2007
The Observer

Friday, December 7, 2007

More on the Veteran's Day call-out

Police: Body May Be That Of Missing Woman

By News 8 WMTW/

LEWISTON, Maine -- Searchers looking for a pregnant woman from Lewiston missing for three weeks have found a body in a shallow grave in the city behind a mall.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland said investigators believe, pending an autopsy, that the body is that of Donna Paradis, who has

The grave was found along an ATV trail that runs along railroad tracks.

"The case has changed today from a missing person case to a homicide investigation," McCausland said.

Police on Sunday stepped up the search for Paradis, 38. Maine wardens used an airplane to search the Androscoggin River in the Lewiston-Auburn area. On the ground, police established a command center at Lewiston High School. More than 60 wardens, police officers, K-9 teams and trained civilian search teams took part in the effort. About a dozen areas were searched.

Lewiston police said they found several "items of interest" behind the Promenade Mall over the weekend.

Click on the link below to see a video of the search

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Message from Charlie

Hope Everyone is having a great day!

Mick Started a UC SAR blog for the team. Feel free to comment on any of the topics. Also if you have any ideas for the blog send them to Mick.



Reply from Mick:

Thanks, Charlie.

Also, folks, if you have any UCSAR pictures or newspaper articles or any other interesting SAR-related material, or you want to write me a story, or publish a piece that you wrote for class that you think others may read, send it to me for posting. A good topic would be some interesting or exciting experience you had while out with Unity College SAR.

I expect if we make this thing interesting, we may get some donations as a result. We really need a vehicle of our own. See the solicitation on the left hand side bar.

If you send me a story, I may edit your English to make it presentable.

Finally, especially for the new officers, MASAR is going to require cell phone or pager text-messaging as a call-out system. I will be working with you guys after the break to set this up.


Missing Brit showed up on google

Did anyone else read about this guy? He was reported missing five years ago, massive search, helicopters, ground teams, water search, coasties, then one day he shows up, turns himself in. Turns out that not only did his wife claim the insurance and get it, but that they were reunited in Panama a year ago. At that time they were photographed by a third party, a commercial firm, the picture was posted on the web, and when the police didn't find it, a housewife did.

Read it and weep:,,2223073,00.html

More on the Byron SAR

Cold, dazed, but alive

By Terry Karkos , Staff Writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007

BYRON - A deer hunter who spent nearly three days lost in snowy woods near Tumbledown Mountain was in stable condition at a Lewiston hospital after being found by a snowmobiler late Wednesday afternoon.

Steven Wright, 53, of Woodford, Vt., was hauled out of the woods near Madrid. He was found about 15 miles away on the backside of nearby Jackson Mountain by Donald Eisenhaur.

Eisenhaur said he had gone out for a "joy ride" after being advised by his wife to keep an eye out for the missing Wright.

Warden Lt. Pat Dorian called what Wright endured an "incredible story of survival."

"This is probably one of the most remarkable stories I have heard in my life," Dorian said Wednesday night. He said Wright not only weathered freezing temperatures and a snowstorm, but also dealt with being snow-blind for a while.

At one point on Tuesday, tired, and with his clothes freezing on him after he was immersed earlier up to his neck, Wright climbed into a ditch and covered himself with spruce branches in an attempt to stay warm, Dorian said.

By Wednesday morning, his vision improved but "his neck was so stiff that he couldn't look down," Dorian said.

Word that Wright was found reached searchers only minutes after the Maine Warden Service called rescue crews in for the day about 3:30 p.m. to prepare for today's now-canceled search.

"Did you just hear that?" one warden incredulously asked a handful of others and state police troopers inside the Byron town office command post, referring to a radio call saying that Wright had been found alive.

The Vermont hunter, who serves on the select board in Woodford, had been missing since Monday, and searchers began looking for him early Tuesday morning by foot, snowmobiles, airplanes and helicopters..

At 3:52 p.m. Wednesday, the wardens and troopers ran outside to listen to a call relating that Eisenhaur had found Wright about 15 miles off Route 4.

"He was able to say his name. He was conscious and alert," said Warden Lt. Adam Gormely about 4 p.m. during a hastily called news conference outside the municipal building.

At 4:30 p.m., a LifeFlight helicopter flew over the command post on its way to bring Wright to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.

More than 40 wardens, Maine Forest service rangers, three warden service dogs, and volunteers from the Maine Association for Search and Rescue took part in Wednesday's search. Lt. Pat Dorian and Gormely were readying plans for today's search when they learned the hunter had been found.

The Warden Service estimated the cost of the search at $20,000 as of Wednesday night. The service said Wright won't be billed for search expenses.

Wright was wearing extreme wet-weather camouflage pants and a jacket, upper-torso orange vest and orange-colored hat. He had lost a glove, and was wet and icy when found.

He had arrived in Byron on Sunday with hunting buddies Michael Harrington and Barry Bishop, both of Bennington, Vt.

On Monday morning, they left their rental cabin and drove about four miles east of Route 17 on No. 6 Road.

At 9 a.m., they saw a deer track, which Wright began following while his friends each went along the outskirts, spreading out to the left and right, according to Turcotte. The two men then got into stands - platforms attached to tree trunks - to wait for a deer.

Wright left his backpack with his survival gear in his truck.

An experienced outdoorsman who has hunted nationwide, he was armed with a muzzleloader and two to three rounds of ammunition.

When Wright later failed to return, his friends began searching for him. At 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, they sought help from wardens. Initially, three wardens and a supervisor began searching on snowmobiles and on foot within a one-mile radius of the hunters' truck.

"I think he's going to make it," Gormely said Wednesday night. "He was on his deathbed, and he doesn't let go of his rifle. That's a hard-core hunter."

"He hunts a lot," Neil Hoag, a fellow Select Board member in Woodford told the Bennington (Vt.) Banner. "He was out West a while ago. I know he typically hunts two or three states."

Woodford Town Clerk Ron Higgins said Wright suffered from some health problems over the summer that worried those who knew him.

"I was a little frightened because of the slight stroke that he had had, but he's a real strong and determined man," Higgins told the Banner.

Personal Satelite Trackers: Are they any good?

At the latest MASAR meeting we were briefed by a retail representative on these new personal messenger/tracker devices. My immediate thought, on being told that there's a button you press to dial 911, was "false alarms." Remember SARbe? Then there was SARSAT. I well remember, many years ago, toiling to the top of a Yorkshire fell only to find that it was the site of an automatic SARbe beacon reciever giving out a false alarm.

But if the guy who just got lost in Byron, ME (below) had had one, he would almost certainly have been in better shape. That would have been the case, though, if he'd just had some dry matches.

By the way, the temperature at my house on Tuesday night was 8 degrees. Gosh knows what it was on Tumbledown Mountain.

Any comments on these new trackers?

Heavy coming to USA

David “Heavy” Whalley, MBE BEM

“Heavy” Whalley was a member of the RAF from 1972 to December 2007. He has been involved with the RAF Mountain Rescue Service (MRS, or just MR) for 35 years. He has been Team Leader of RAF Leuchars and RAF Kinloss MR Teams in Scotland and Deputy Team Leader at RAF Valley MRT in North Wales. He was the Senior Team Leader on scene at the Lockerbie Air Disaster, and has been involved in over 1000 mountain rescues, and over 80 aircraft incidents in mountainous areas. Heavy spent the last four years as a Controller in the Rescue Coordination Centre at RAF Kinloss, giving him a unique insight into general rescue and emergency response organization in the UK. He has been a member of the Executive Committee of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland for over 20 years, also serving for 3 years as Chairman. He is now the Accident Statistician for this important national body. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for Service to Mountain Rescue by the Scottish Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland in 2002. He is also a recipient of the British Empire Medal (BEM) and a Member of the British Empire (MBE), both important UK national awards given for service to rescue. He was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his service in the aftermath of the Lockerbie Air Disaster.

Heavy is also a consummate outdoorsman. Mountains and mountaineering are his life. Heavy has completed the Munros 7 times (all Scottish mountains over 3,000 feet are called “Munros” after the cartographer who first mapped them), once with his dog! He has also completed four traverses of the Scottish Highlands, two in winter. He has been on over 30 official expeditions, including to the European Alps, Iran, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Tibet, where he was the Base Camp Manager of the successful RAF MRS 2001 North East Ridge expedition to climb Mt. Everest. He especially enjoys winter climbing and has been winter climbing in Canada several times and has even practised this sport in the Falkland Islands while on tour there with the RAF. Scotland is his love and he particularly enjoys the islands, especially Skye and Rhum.

He is a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, the Moray Mountaineering Club, the John Muir Trust, and the Mountain Bothies Association, and believes passionately in looking after our wilderness for the future and passing on his experience and love of the mountains and wilderness to others, especially young people. He is planning to join the Torridon Mountain Rescue Team in Feb 2008. He is now retired and hopes to write a book on his life and lecture on his experiences. Heavy lives in Burghead in Morayshire; he plays golf, enjoys watching football, practising photography, and he climbs or walks in the mountains at least twice a week!

Heavy is planning a US and Canadian lecture tour to cities and towns where there is strong interest on mountaineering, mountain rescue, and emergency response. He will give a slideshow of his photography relating to rescue and mountaineering in general, and talk about his mountain rescue and emergency response experiences. Heavy is an animated and passionate speaker, and his photography is superb. Tour dates are tentative, but roughly mid-April to mid June 2008. This is a not-for-profit tour intended to boost SAR, mountain rescue and mountain conservation in general. Tour venues will be asked to contribute to Heavy’s travel expenses, and to provide a night or two’s lodging.

Contact Mick for details

Lost hunter found

From the Associated Press: Dec 5, 8:15 PM EST

Missing hunter found two days after going missing

MADRID, Maine (AP) -- A missing hunter from Vermont was found in the rugged mountains of western Maine Wednesday afternoon two days after he went missing while deer hunting with friends.

Steven Wright, 53, of Woodford, Vt., was coherent when he was found by a snowmobiler on the side of Jackson Mountain about 15 miles south of Route 4 in the unorganized territory of Township 6, said Maine Warden Service spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte. He was flown to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for treatment after being in the bitter cold and snow for two days.

Wright set out on Tumbledown Mountain in Byron on Monday morning and became separated from two other hunters, Michael Harrington and Barry Bishop of Bennington, Vt., as they were tracking a deer during Maine's muzzleloader hunting season.

A storm that blanketed Maine with fresh snow left 15 inches or more on the ground Monday in the area where Wright was missing. A search began Tuesday, and two planes and two helicopters aided ground searchers.

Wright was found by Donald Eisenhaur, 68, of Madrid, about 11 miles from where Wright and his friends had set out hunting.

Eisenhaur told officials that Wright was wet and covered with ice when he found him, and that his muzzleloader and GPS device were frozen.

Before Eisenhaur went out for a "joy ride" on his snowmobile, his wife told him to keep his eye out for the lost hunter.

When Eisenhaur came across Wright, he at first thought he was a moose on the trail. But as he approached, he saw it was a man, and surmised that Wright had heard his sled's engine and crawled to the trail.

Eisenhaur placed Wright on the front seat of the snowmobile and talked to him on the ride home, according to the Maine Warden Service. Wright slumped over several times during the ride, hitting his head on the sled's stop button and causing it to shut down.

Wright was wearing cold-weather clothing and an orange vest and hat. He was also carrying a GPS device and a compass, but it was unclear if he had input his location of if the batteries were dead, Turcotte said.

Wright also had packed a survival kit with matches and a radio but had left it in his truck, Turcotte said.