Search and rescue exercise held at Beaverdam

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on Jul 14, 2010 - 05:08 PM

The Tidewater Search and Rescue (TSAR), in association with Gloucester County’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), held a search and rescue simulation Saturday at the Route 606 entrance to Beaverdam Park.

Photo: Volunteers rescued pseudo-patient Bart Drummond Saturday during a joint wilderness search and rescue simulation at Beaverdam Park. In this particular scenario, rescue workers were deployed to search for a horseback rider who had gone missing deep in the park the evening before. During the search, Drummond, a rescue worker, suffered from heat exhaustion and other members had to conduct a patient assessment and evacuate him from the woods to medical help. Here, workers carry Drummond from the woods.

Volunteers rescued pseudo-patient Bart Drummond Saturday during a joint wilderness search and rescue simulation at Beaverdam Park. In this particular scenario, rescue workers were deployed to search for a horseback rider who had gone missing deep in the park the evening before. During the search, Drummond, a rescue worker, suffered from heat exhaustion and other members had to conduct a patient assessment and evacuate him from the woods to medical help. Here, workers carry Drummond from the woods.

The Medical Reserve Corps from the Three Rivers Health District, members of the Middle Peninsula Amateur Radio Club’s ARES group and the Gloucester Emergency Services office also joined in the exercise that took place in and around some of Beaverdam’s tough and twisty trails.

Bart Drummond, TSAR assistant operations officer, said the exercise was meant to provide additional training, practice and experience to members of TSAR in areas of search tactics and methods, base operations, patient triage, packaging and evacuation.

"The training also provided benefits in the area of working with emergency volunteers who may have little to no experience in wilderness search and rescue, and who may respond to an actual search should one occur in the county," Drummond said.

Saturday’s training also provided experience to other organizations such as CERT. This group is comprised of volunteer members of the community who receive training in disaster search and rescue operations, light fire suppression, disaster psychology, terrorism and more. "The wilderness search and rescue training that was provided to them will help them augment the response by Gloucester and Abingdon volunteer fire departments as well as the Gloucester Sheriff’s Office, should an actual missing person search arise within the county," Drummond added.

TSAR, he said, is celebrating its 25th year of saving lives. It is strictly volunteer and responds when ordered by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) in the event of a missing person, aircraft or cold case searches for victims and evidence. {image_2}

The 36-member group, Drummond said, responds to incidents in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Its membership includes residents of Gloucester, the Peninsula and as far south as Elizabeth City, N.C.

Drummond said TSAR members are trained by VDEM in wilderness search and rescue and can become field team members, field team leaders and field team signcutters (mantracking), he said. "We also have members trained by VDEM as base management staff, providing planning and incident support staff to assist the local responsible agent, such as the sheriff, in most cases, as needed on a search.

"TSAR’s members are trained in medical operations and semi-technical rescue that will allow us to provide care to a subject and remove the subject from the woods under most terrain conditions," Drummond added.

More information on TSAR can be found at www.tsar.org.