Monday, April 28, 2008

Lockerbie in Peabody

Heavy will speak on Lockerbie in Tim's class today at 10am, room 3A.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rescue Expert in Residence....

Lots of students already have taken advantage of Heavy's extended stay (his next gig is at MASAR on the 3rd May) to have a conversation or walk with him. Feel free to go up and initiate a conversation about SAR or mountains or the beautiful spring weather -- I'm sure he'd enjoy it, and as we saw on Wednesday, he has had an amazing life, and reflected on his experiences a good deal.

You never know, you might learn something, and wasn't that what you came to college for?

Carpe diem.

Mick

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Heavy here today, gives talk tomorrow 7.30 pm UCPA

The Unity Centre for the Performing Arts is in downtown Unity off Depot Street. Come into town on 9/202, then turn left or right at the bronze moose, depending on whether you arrive from the east or the west.

Whatever you do, turn south. That's the important thing. Then look for the sign.

Mick




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

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kenduskeag krunches kause khaos








Well, Ryan and Justin and I had fun as "fishers of men" (and women and small children) at the Kenduskeag race yesterday. Our original station was quite calm, but the cheers from the crowd, and eventually an order over the radio, drew us to a much busier station in the Kenduskeag Gorge. There was a nice three foot standing wave that was just a little wild for many paddlers. Every fourth or fifth boat went over. If you had flotation, you stood a chance, but most of the amateur boats filled with water and their paddlers were guaranteed a dunking.

A couple of leaderless kids from Dirigo's youth team had perched themselves on a precarious rock, and were handling the casualties manfully, although their operation was more physically demanding than they could handle, and the perch they chose basically guaranteed that one or both of them would be injured. Not a good choice of stance. We chose a nice beach further down, where we took turns to throw ropes and were able to bring in the swimmers with ease and comfort.

In the end, one of the rock-perched kids got exhausted from swimming after paddlers, and the other fell and cracked open the fluid sac in his knee and had to withdraw. Not before insulting us for our rope-throwing ability, which we found fairly hilarious, considering that he'd just managed to get himself injured by, basically, showing off for the crowd. If he'd just let the paddlers float by, they either came to shore, or we hauled them in safely and with little risk to ourselves.

The other kid was much more pleasant and modest a SAR colleague, and I actually saw him save a couple of young children who were in somewhat serious trouble.

We must have fished out 50-60 swimmers. We got wet and a little cold, but had no other problems. The "new" state surplus Ford 350 crew cab truck makes a great SAR truck, and will be an asset on a call-out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More on Baxter rescue cover for summer and fall


Maine Environmental News picture of a rescue in Baxter SP

I will be taking a trip to Baxter soon to begin coordinating with the park authorities. They are keen to have us help, but also need us to be fully prepared. This will be a good deal easier for us to manage in the fall, when we have a lot of students to draw on, than the summer, but I think we have to do our best to provide assistance in both seasons.

Part of the program may include one or more weekends where a group of us are on "rescue cover" for the weekend, based at the park.

Here's an older article that summarizes a summer of incidents. Be sure to read it and study the pictures. This new mission is much more oriented towards mountain rescue skills than the low-level, low angle search and rescue that is our usual fare. While I know what to do, I'm old and rusty. You guys are young and fit, but few of you know what to do. We have some work ahead of us.

http://www.meepi.org/files04/pa102504.htm

Monday, April 7, 2008

Summer and Fall: On call for Baxter State Park

SAR team members may be aware that the 126th Air National Guard based out of Bangor is going on deployment this year with their choppers. Accordingly, Baxter State Park Alpine Ranger Rob Tice alerted MASAR on Sunday April 6th at the regular meeting to be prepared for long strenuous carry-offs for some of the 30-50 SAR calls the park staff get every summer and fall. Ethan and I were both there to hear it.

That means us too. My best guess: we can expect between five and fifteen such calls between now and Christmas.

How many of you will be here this summer AND are physically and mentally prepared for this? I know my skills are good, but my hill fitness was certainly questionable the last time I climbed Katahdin. In the meantime I quit my desk job as Interim Provost and started daily walking and hill-walking to get back in shape. I think I can just about handle it.

The rest of you, if you want to be used, need to get organized. We can't take out-of-shape people on these calls. Heavy is here next week and the week after, and he and I can lead some hikes on Mt Harris and elsewhere. Look for alerts in the students@unity listserve.

Those of you planning to be in the neighborhood all summer, and willing to commit to regular fitness training and to monitor cell phones and home phones diligently, should contact me by email with cell and home numbers (both please) and your local addresses, and I'll put a summer scratch team together.

In the fall we will be looking to ramp this up a level yet.

Mick

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Heavy's slideshow, MASAR, River races, vehicle question

Lots of stuff to go over at SAR briefings Wednesday night the next few weeks. Charlie and the other officers will be leading discussions about the following:

Heavy Whalley speech/slideshow, 23rd April:
A reminder that this very storied rescue troop is coming to Unity College to give a Lapping Lecture at 7.30pm that night. Those of you who want to join me for dinner with Heavy before hand, email me. Click here to find out more about Heavy. He will be in the area for a few days and is available for some training exercises, possibly a spring High Angle, weather permitting, certainly a couple of navigation days, which I will set up with Charlie and announce closer to the time.

MASAR Spring Training, 3rd and 4th May:
We want a good turn-out for this training weekend, which will be at the positively palatial Schoodic Education and Research Center. Organized by Chris Weibusch, NPS Ranger at Acadia, an alum of the college. Details below. See Charlie to sign up

River Race Rescue Cover:
We are asked to provide trained SAR trrops to do rescue cover on traditional canoe races each spring. The Kenduskeag Race is the big one, on the 19th April. It's fun to stand on the bank and watch the punters fall in, especially when they're Unity students. Not so fun to go into the water (brrrr!) and pull them out and catch their boats. We generally take the SAR trailer and wet suits. But good PR and public service. One of the big services we provide is radio communication up and down the river. See Charlie to sign up

Vehicle Question:
A slow year for call-outs has left us money in our budget. We've been after our own vehicle for some time. I've proposed we use the money to get one. Debate this at this week's meeting. Show up to get the details from Charlie and have your say.

MASAR spring training details

10 March 2008

Spring 2008 MASAR Symposium

Saturday and Sunday, 3-4 May 2008

Hosted by Acadia National Park and
Mount Desert Island Search and Rescue

Location:

Schoodic Education and Research Center (SERC)
Acadia National Park, Schoodic Peninsula, Winter Harbor, Maine


See accompanying map and driving directions. Further information about the
SERC facility may be found at:


General Schedule:

Indoor and outdoor classes all day Saturday, 3 May
Guest speaker Saturday night, 3 May
Indoor and outdoor classes Sunday morning, 4 May

Confirmed Courses Instructor
Effective Grid Searches Ed Pontbriand -Acadia National Park ranger
Man Tracking Ed Pontbriand - Acadia National Park ranger
Dealing with the Press Susan Farley -Channel 5 News Reporter
NIMS ICS-700 Chris Wiebusch -Acadia National Park ranger
Working With Search Dogs Maine Search and Rescue Dogs
Working With Mounted SAR Mid Maine Equestrian SAR
Practical Map and Compass Mick Womersley, Unity College
ICS -Communications and Plans David Whalley, Mountain Rescue Committee of
Scotland
Possible Course Topics Instructor
More Effective Search Techniques Not yet determined
Litter Raise And Lower Demo Not yet determined
Low Angle Litter Belay Not yet determined
Basic Individual Water Safety Not yet determined
Patient Packaging for Searchers Not yet determined
Communications Not yet determined
Two EMS Courses Not yet determined
Helicopters in SAR (1-2 Courses) Not yet determined



Housing

There are three on-site housing options:
Free camping is available in the campground and on the ball field. There are
restrooms located near both locations.
Beds in the bunk house are available for $15.00 per person per night. No bed
linens are provided, so you'll have to bring your own.
Private cabins and suites are available for $35.00 per person per night. Linen
service is included.

Horses can be kept at the ball field for the weekend.

Meals
Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday breakfast and lunch will be available for
those who want them, but must be purchased in advance. The meal costs are:

Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast -$30.00 per person
Sunday lunch -$8.00 per person

Coffee, tea, and snacks will be available for all during the day. The cost for these is
included in the registration fee.

Program Cost
A $15.00 fee will be charged each attendee to help cover the facility use costs.

Guest Speaker
David Whalley of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland will speak after
dinner on Saturday evening. He will present a slide show titled “Reflections On
Scottish Mountain Rescue And Mountaineering In The Last 40 Years”

Further information, including a detailed schedule and registration form, will be sent to
all units at the end of March.

Heavy's slides, MASAR Spring Training, River Races

Lots of stuff to go over at SAR briefings Wednesday night the next few weeks. Charlie and the other officers will be leading discussions about the following:

Heavy Whalley speech/slideshow, 23rd April:
A reminder that this very storied rescue troop is coming to Unity College to give a Lapping Lecture at 7.30pm that night. Those of you who want to join me for dinner with Heavy before hand, email me. Click here to find out more about Heavy. He will be in the area for a few days and is available for some training exercises, possibly a spring High Angle, weather permitting, certainly a couple of navigation days, which I will set up with Charlie and announce closer to the time.

MASAR Spring Training, 3rd and 4th May:
We want a good turn-out for this training weekend, which will be at the positively palatial Schoodic Education and Research Center. Organized by Chris Weibusch, NPS Ranger at Acadia, an alum of the college. Details below. See Charlie to sign up

River Race Rescue Cover:
We are asked to provide trained SAR trrops to do rescue cover on traditional canoe races each spring. The Kenduskeag Race is the big one, on the 19th April. It's fun to stand on the bank and watch the punters fall in, especially when they're Unity students. Not so fun to go into the water (brrrr!) and pull them out and catch their boats. We generally take the SAR trailer and wet suits. But good PR and public service. One of the big services we provide is radio communication up and down the river. See Charlie to sign up

Vehicle Question:
A slow year for call-outs has left us money in our budget. We've been after our own vehicle for some time. I've proposed we use the money to get one. Debate this at this week's meeting. Show up to get the details from Charlie and have your say.