GPS training, an aging population and being a twin. 
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Saskatoon Search & Rescue

August 2013 Newsletter

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What's Happening 


Brush up on your GPS skills, sign up for the Team Leader Course coming in September.  A multi-agency, multi-day training exercise will be held in October. Save the dates! The Training and Events section has all the details. This is a good time to take or review the Incident Command System (ISC) 100 course (updated June 2013) which can be done online. 

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to have an identical twin? Check out this member profile of Jarod Harvey

Alzheimer's, dementia and an aging population are increasingly important issues for SAR teams. 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos - Multi-purpose gear and weather-related mobile apps. 

Congratulations to Henry Eng and Cam McLelland who were certified in near-water search on June 6 and 9. Sincere apologies for missing you in the congrats last month.

What else would you like to see in the SSAR newsletter? Do you have something that should be included next month? Please email the Communications Director with your ideas, comments and feedback. Thanks!

There's A Lot

To Be Thankful For

MD Ambulance has always taken a thoughtful approach to community involvement and partnerships. They recently donated two medic bags to SSAR. These can be used as a shoulder bag or converted into a backpack. So much better than our old out-dated ones! Thanks very much to Advance Care Paramedic Tyler Erker and Chief Operating Officer Gerry Schriemer from MD Ambulance and SSAR member Rebecca Basset for making this happen.

Saskatoon Search and Rescue members attended a couple of great events last month which helped to raise our profile in the community. Special thanks to all the SAR members, family and friends who attended. swamp donkey

The Dirty Donkey Run was held on July 13 and, in rainy and cold conditions, SSAR members (Mark Wells, Justin Ebbert, Henry Eng, Chris Franko, Kent Orosz, Jeff Baxter, Rebecca Basset), along with North Corman Park SAR members (Duwayne Woodland, Devin King, Christine Sperling) and family & friends (Julie Baxter, Spencer Pitzel, Benn Hart, Anna Janzen, Tara Amundsen, Joseph Santiago, Taylor Korol, Kacey Cross, Madeline Janzen) provided first aid support to all the racers.

We were on scene from 6 am - 5:30 pm and treated several minor injuries, a sprained ankle and an elbow that required a sling; bandaged lots of lacerations and treated one cold weather exposure. Most of the friends noted above are in the Primary Care Paramedic program at SIAST so this was a valuable experience for them.

Thanks to the Alpine Club of Canada, Saskatchewan Section, for use of their tent shelters. And a very special thanks to Rebecca Basset and Jeff Baxter for all the additional work beforehand, particularly on site the week before the race, to get everything organized. 

display at SPS barbecue

The Saskatoon Police Community Barbecue on July 16 was a bright and sunny day and brought out lots of people to view the many displays and enjoy the entertainment and food. Thanks to Diane VanBrabant, Mark Wells, Cam McLelland, Rick Barsky, Jeff Baxter, Kent Orosz and Rebecca Basset for promoting SSAR at our display. 

Training and Events

Monthly Training Meetings

  • Thursday, August 15 (NOTE: Date change from Aug 8. We apologize for any inconvenience.) - 1900 - 2130 hrs - Basic Navigation Training. Meet at the north entrance of Chief Whitecap Park (Head south out of the city on Lorne Avenue, turn west on Cartwright Street for ~2 km, south on Saskatchewan Crescent to parking lot.)

This session will focus on navigation using GPS. It is very important that as many members as possible attend this training in preparation for the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) multi-agency training days scheduled for October (see further information below). 

A full list of training dates for the next several months can be found on the Training page of our website

Team Leader Course

All members are encouraged to attend! During this four-day course, topics such as search tactics, the basics of lost-person behavior and much more are covered. Anyone looking to expand their knowledge of Search and Rescue beyond the Basic Searcher Course should attend. Although completion of the course certifies you to act as a Team Leader during exercises and activations, taking the course does not mean you have to do that. In many ways the course can be looked at as an extended Basic Searcher Course.

The course will be held over 2 evenings and a Saturday field day that will run overnight into a second field day on Sunday, with everything wrapping up mid-afternoon. This is a much more compressed approach than we have done in the past with a larger outdoor/practical component.

  • Thursday, Sept 5 (1900 hrs - classroom at the Fire Training Centre, 116 Ave W S)
  • Friday, Sept 20 (1900 hrs - classroom at the Fire Training Centre, 116 Ave W S) 
  • Saturday Sept 21 to Sunday Sept 22 (field portion overnight)

If you are interested in signing up for the course or have questions, please email us.

Emergency Measures Organization,
Multi-Agency Training Exercise

  • Monday and Tuesday, October 7 - 8 (times and location to be determined)
Saskatoon EMO and the agencies that fall under EMO (Police, Fire, SSAR, etc.) will be holding a multi-day training scenario.

Please mark all these dates on your calendars. These are weekdays so you may need to arrange for time off work to take part in the exercise. More details will be available as the time gets closer. 
  • October 3 and October 5 (tentative) -- Our regular monthly training dates are tentative until we determine the exact nature of our involvement in the EMO exercise and if further preparation for our tasks is required.

SARscene 2013

The National Search and Rescue Secretariat and the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association are planning SARscene 2013. It will be held at the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre in Chilliwack, BC, from October 19 - 21, 2013. More information is available at 

Executive and Directors Meeting

The next SSAR Executive and Directors meeting is scheduled for August 29, starting at 1900 hrs. These are the business-style meetings of our chapter and are held the last Thursday of each month. All members are welcome to attend. If you would like to speak to an issue concerning SSAR, please notify the President prior to the meeting so time can be allotted on the agenda. 

If you would like a copy of the minutes from any past Executive and Directors meetings, please email us.

Member Profile

Jarod Harvey

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a twin? Someone who looks just like you? For Jarod Harvey and his identical twin brother, Jay, it’s fun, humorous, and sometimes a bit mischievous.
JarodAs kids they had t-shirts that said, “I’m Jarod, he’s Jay” and “I’m Jay, he’s Jarod.” When they got older, Jay gave Jarod a t-shirt that said, “I’m smart, he’s smarter.” Being twins, they also developed a very competitive spirit. Running back to school after lunch was not just a run it was a serious race.
This competitiveness helped Jarod earn a spot in the Western Major Baseball League as a left fielder for the Swift Current Indians. He spent three years with the team, winning two championships. With only playing during the summer months between university terms (unlike most of his teammates who played ball year round), it was heart, effort and speed that helped him crack the lineup and be 9th batter up.
The mischievous? Well, hypothetically speaking, there might have been a time when Jarod was working a summer job and unable to get a day off to attend a special event, despite being promised this day at the beginning of the summer. Jay might have gone to work for Jarod that day, without anyone at the workplace being any the wiser. Hypothetically speaking, of course!
After university, Jarod began teaching and he and his wife, Jocelyn, spent several years in the southern part of the province in Fillmore, Gladmar (where he was principal for one year) and Carnduff. Although phys. ed was his main focus, Jarod was a teacher of all trades with everything from Grade 5 math to Grade 10 drama and things such as psychology, law and social studies in between.
When Jarod and his family moved back to Saskatoon last year he wanted to do something as a volunteer. Saskatoon Search and Rescue fit in well with his outdoor interests and skills and was something apart from the school setting and working with kids.   

Jarod really enjoyed his first winter overnight camping experience with SSAR as it was something he’d never done before and he learned a lot about what works Jarod & familyand what doesn’t. A good lesson was that the most expensive gear is not always the best. For example, that fancy new down sleeping mat? Not worth the expense of possible damage and not as versatile as something cheaper. But the Gregory backpack with multiple compartments? Oh yah! Way easy to get at what you need without pulling every piece of gear out.
Jarod has jumped right into his involvement with SSAR by joining the executive as Membership Director and he’s looking forward to taking the Team Leader Course in September.
Jarod’s teaching career is now solely focused on phys. ed, Kindergarten to Grade 8 at Dr. John G. Egnatoff School. The move back to Saskatoon, where his twin brother is also a phys. ed teacher, has led to several cases of mistaken identity from people who know one brother but not the other and confused looks, especially from students, when they’re together.
With two very active sons, Brennan (6) and Kendall (4), Jarod’s winter involved a lot of moving snow around in the yard and building forts. Springtime evenings were filled with coaching ages 6 & under soccer and blastball, and this summer will include plenty of family camping. 

Alzheimer's & Dementia

An Increasingly Important SAR Issue

"Richard Byrd, a 64-year-old rancher from Vaughn -- a small town in the vast, flat eastern plains of New Mexico -- was found dead last month on his sprawling 30,000-acre ranch. It was the third time in two years that volunteer search and rescue teams -- at times assisted by state police and national guard helicopters -- had been called to find him. Suffering from Huntington's disease, Byrd had wandered yet again from his remote family ranch, where he lived with his wife Judy." (From Huffington Post, July 12, 2013)
This article refers specifically to American statistics, yet parallels with Canada can easily be drawn as both countries have an increasing proportion of elderly people. While Saskatchewan is fairly unique across the country in that the median age is decreasing, the actual number of elderly is rising. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of Saskatonians over 65 grew by over 2000 (from 26,330 to 28,400). In the same time period, the number of elderly in Saskatchewan grew by nearly 4400 people (from 149,315 to 153,700) (Source: 2006 and 2011 Canadian census).
As dementia/wandering search expert Kimberly Kelly of San Diego, California, notes, "At age 65, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease -- one of several forms of dementia -- doubles every five years."  This is sure to result in more calls to look for wandering subjects. (Thanks to Kent Orosz for providing the above information.)

Closer to home, Coquitlam SAR member Michael Coyle has written an article about missing persons with dementia in the Metro Vancouver area and the associated research done by Richard Laing.

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos

And Other Cool Stuff

Don't you just love gear that has more than one purpose? The Integral Designs Silponcho Tarp is an ultralight tarp/shelter, rain poncho, pack cover, ground sheet what weighs just 280 g (.62 lbs) and packs up to about the size of a 500 ml water bottle.

The American Red Cross now has several mobile apps available that provide information on weather-related events. The one most relevant to us in the Saskatoon area is the one for tornados. Although the warning and alert information may be U.S. based, there is lots of information on how to prepare and what to do before, during and after. No connectively is required so help is right in your hand when you need it!

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos is a regular newsletter section featuring a couple of items that SSAR members find useful. Got something you think others would like to hear about? Please email the Communications Director.

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