Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hodgepodge 42/365 - Search & Rescue

ELT unit (it tracks radio frequencies)
Today was our last search & rescue (SAR) training of the year: search management in a nutshell, plus ELT (emergency locator transmitter—for searching for downed aircraft) and PLS (Project Life Saver—for looking for mentally challenged people who wander off) practice. It's not hard, but it's always good to review the basics. In fact, I don't know that we've ever used the ELT (which doesn't mean we haven't searched for downed aircraft, just that we didn't need to use this device), and I asked a deputy today and he said they've only had one wandering PLS client this year. So that's good.

I've written about SAR elsewhere (nos. 14, 119, 132, 153, 168, 181, 348, and 353 of my last blog). I haven't been very active this year, and the last few months there really haven't been many calls. It's a slow season—which is also good.

I was thinking on my way home from training about books I've read that feature search & rescue in one capacity or another, and wondered what more there are out there. I googled, and found a list of 84 books on Goodreads. Wow! But when I looked closer, many of these seemed to be "romance" novels—with SAR as a backdrop, but, um, yeah, romance novels. A comment on one of the various series featured in this list was "When I am in the mood for a sweet book that leaves me thinking about sugar pops, rainbows and unicorns . . . I read [author name]." 

Yeah. So if I skim past the unicorns (bless romance publishers' hearts for sticking everything in series—here, I'm skimming past such series titles as "Adrenaline Search and Rescue," "Aftershock," "Search and Seduce," and "Passion for Danger'), and add a few books from my own library, I come up with a  much shorter list. All of the following are nonfiction. Some aren't specifically about SAR, but SAR is involved in all of them (except perhaps the last, but that one is a good book that covers some of the challenges that SAR workers confront, so I include it). I have only read a handful of these books, so I'll be looking for some of them during the upcoming year.

Susannah Charleson, Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search & Rescue Dog 
     Two good friends who have trained some awesome search dogs have read this one and recommended it. 

NASAR, Fundamentals of Search & Rescue
     A thorough reference book.

Nona Kilgore Bauer, Dog Heroes of September 11th: A Tribute to America's Search & Rescue Dogs

Robert J. Koester, Lost Person Behavior: A Search & Rescue Guide on Where to Look—for Land, Air, and Water
     The definitive guide to solving the puzzle of where a lost person might be found, based on psychological traits.

Cathy Hufault, Death Clouds on Mt. Baldy: Tucson's Lost Tragedy
     The account of a 1958 search for six missing boy scouts during a severe blizzard.
William Sine, Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World's Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force
     Outside the purview of our little SAR team, but it gets good reviews and no doubt details some interesting missions by this elite U.S. Air Force unit. Another book about this group is None Braver. And if you're interested in their Coast Guard counterpart, try The Finest Hours, about a 1952 sea rescue.

Kate Braestrup, Here If You Need Me
     A beautiful memoir by the chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, which includes search & rescue duties. 

Hank Whittemore, So That Others May Live: Caroline Hebard and Her Search & Rescue Dogs
     The story of the founder of the U.S. Disaster Team Canine Unit.

Buck Tilton, Wilderness First Responder: How to Recognize, Treat, and Prevent Emergencies in the Backcountry

Joel Hardin, Tracker: Case Files and Adventures of a Professional Mantracker
     Personal stories from a 30-year career as a mantracker for law enforcement.

Albert "Ab" Taylor, Fundamentals of Mantracking: The Essential Manual for Search & Rescue Trackers 

Christopher S. Young, Urban Search: Managing Missing Person Searches in the Urban Environment

Shaun Roundy, 75 Search & Rescue Stories: An Insider's View of Survival, Death, and Volunteer Heroes Who Tip the Balance When Things Fall Apart 

Charles R. "Butch" Farabee Jr., Death, Daring, and Disaster: Search and Rescue in the National Parks

Christopher Van Tilburg, Mountain Rescue Doctor: Wilderness Medicine in the Extremes of Nature

Eric Blehm, The Last Season  
     The story of Sequoia National Park backcountry ranger Randy Mortenson's disappearance.

Bob Madgic, Shattered Air: A True Account of Catastrophe and Courage on Yosemite's Half Dome
     A lightning strike on Half Dome in 1985 and the fate of five hikers.

Jennifer Woodlief, A Bolt from the Blue: The Epic True Story of Danger, Daring, and Heroism at 13,000 Feet
     A lightning strike on Grand Teton and the six climbers who were affected.

Laurence Gonzales, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

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