Training, EMO, a beautiful kayak, and the Big Red Safety Toolkit
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Saskatoon Search & Rescue

September 2013 Newsletter

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What's Happening 


Team Leader course coming in September. Don't miss out! The Training and Events section has all the details.

Get prepared for a major EMO training exercise in October by reviewing or taking the Incident Command System (ISC) 100 course (updated June 2013) which can be done online. 

I think I'll build a kayak -- member profile of Henry Eng.

Autism and the Big Red Safety Toolkit -- a valuable resource for SAR and first responders. 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos - Are cell phones a reliable safety device? Get your guide to outdoor gear maintenance and repair. 

photo by Lance Athmer

Many thanks to Jeff Baxter for organizing the map and compass and GPS training evenings in July and August and for preparing an extra exercise for members to do on their own. It was great practice and much appreciated. Some of you may recognize the banner photo above as waypoint #8, aka the "beaver tree," on the GPS course. 

(Photo at left by Lance Athmer: Chris & Rebecca doing their map and compass homework.)

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!

Training and Events

Monthly Training Meetings

Our regular schedule of training meetings and field days is interrupted somewhat in September and October due to the below-noted courses and EMO exercise. 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!

This training will focus on certifying members as Team Leaders and re-certifying both Basic Searchers and Team Leaders as required. Certification is only valid for three years so everyone is encouraged to attend to ensure their certification doesn't expire and and they are eligible to participate in the event of a search activation. Current Team Leaders will be asked to help with the course as an opportunity to further develop their skills.

The format for this course is different than previous courses so please make careful note of the dates and information below.

  • Thursday, Sept 5 (classroom session, 7 pm - 9:30 pm, Fire Training Centre, 116 Avenue W South, Saskatoon)
  • Saturday Sept 21 to Sunday Sept 22 (2-day field portion with overnight at Blackstrap Provincial Park; time and exact location to be announced)
  • Final Classroom Session (review course material and write certification exam; time and date to be determined)

Although completion of the Team Leader 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. During the course, topics such as search tactics, the basics of lost person behaviour and much more are covered. Anyone looking to expand their knowledge of Search and Rescue beyond the Basic Searcher Course should attend.

Present Basic Searchers and Team Leaders who are only able to attend one day, please plan to attend on Sunday, Sept 22.
Let the Training Committee know as soon as possible if you plan attend or if you have questions. Please email us at


SARSAV Meeting

The SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, Sept 14, starting at 0930 at the Travelodge Hotel in Saskatoon. All current members of Saskatchewan SAR chapters are welcome to attend.   

Emergency Measures Organization,
Multi-Agency Training Exercise

  • Thursday, October 3 (7 pm at Fire Training Centre -- SSAR preparation for EMO exercise)
  • Saturday, October 5 (time and location to be announced -- SSAR preparation for EMO exercise)
  • Monday and Tuesday, October 7 - 8 (approximately 8 am - 4 pm each day; location to be announced)
In October the Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and the agencies that fall under EMO (Police, Fire, SSAR, etc.) will be holding a multi-day training scenario. SSAR members will be involved October 7-8. Please mark these dates on your calendars. October 7-8 are weekdays so if you are able to arrange for time off work to take part in the exercise it would be a good idea to start arranging that now. More details will be available as the time gets closer.

The October 3 and October 5 training days will provide final details of our involvement in this exercise and further preparation for the tasks that will be assigned. 

SARscene 2013

The National Search and Rescue Secretariat and the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association are hosting SARscene 2013 at the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre in Chilliwack, BC, from October 19 - 21, 2013.

The conference schedule includes many interesting and timely topics such as evidence-based SAR, social media & SAR, Alberta flood response, search case studies, assessing effectiveness of prevention and communications interoperability. A trade show will highlight SAR-related companies and products.

The SARscene games is a one-day event intended to showcase SAR and promote the sharing of skills in a competitive atmosphere. Teams of four compete in a series of six SAR-related challenges the demand cooperation, knowledge and quick thinking. Conference delegates and members of the public can view the teams as they progress through each event.

Executive and Directors Meeting

The next SSAR Executive and Directors meeting is scheduled for September 26, 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

Henry Eng

Four months and a lot of elbow grease. Not to mention patience, attention to detail, and spending many evenings and weekends working in a friend’s workshop mezzanine at Razortip Industries.
That’s what it took for Henry Eng to build his own kayak. With an assembly kit from Waters Dancing Boat Kit Company, he “sewed” it together with copper wire, sealed it and did lots of sanding. And more sanding . . . and then some more sanding. But the challenge and joy of building a functional watercraft and having a boat to call his own, that he’d built with his own hands, was worth it in the end. When some of his friends saw the finished product they thought it was too pretty to be put in the water, but Henry knew that’s where it was meant to be.
Henry has been active in the paddling community for many years. He belonged to the Saskatoon Canoe Club and, with Canoeski Discovery Company, assists in leading canoe trips and teaches map and compass courses.
Henry first heard about Saskatoon Search and Rescue from a fellow paddler and SSAR member. SSAR’s display at the Saskatoon Sports and Leisure Show a couple of years ago caught his attention and he wanted to learn more. His love of the outdoors and interest in helping others was a good fit.
Henry has been a SSAR member for 1½ years, has Basic Searcher certification and is Secretary on the Executive Board.
Henry is a keen participant in all SSAR training exercises. He particularly enjoys the technical challenge of learning new knots – how they’re formed, what uses they have and what they’re called.
At the May training exercise this year Henry’s team was “that close” to locating the missing person but a gate into the U of S Crop Science field, that was supposed to have been left open and would have led to further clues and the subject, was locked. Henry laughs as he recalls Kent’s account of running back and forth to unlock the gate every time an employee who didn’t know about the exercise locked it again.
Henry also enjoys photography. He spent many years as a member of the Saskatoon Camera Club and is a Past President. He has entered his photographs in many competitions and won “Best of Show” at the Saskatoon Exhibition for a photo of a red fire door on Vancouver’s Granville Island.
For the past five years Henry has worked for Wolseley Mechanical, first in their Refrigeration Department and now in Receiving. He is also one of their Occupational Health and Safety representatives and enjoys inspecting equipment and passing on information to fellow employees to ensure a safe working environment. 

(More photos of Henry's kayak can be viewed here.)


And the Big Red SafetyToolkit

It's important for search and rescue personnel and other first responders to have some knowledge about autism in order to provide the best response possible when a child with autism wanders (elopes). 

Did you know?
  • "Roughly half, or 48%, of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than other children."
  • "In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement."
  • "More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number."
  • "Two in three parents of elopers reported their missing children had a “close call” with a traffic injury."
  • "Children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than other children."
These are just a few of the autism and safety facts you can find on the National Autism Association website.
What can SAR and other first responders do?
  • "Treat each case as critical. Children with autism have an impaired sense of danger and face immediate risk."
  • "Children with autism are drawn to water. If a child with autism is missing, search water first."
  • "Interview and listen to caregivers. They know best the areas their child may be seeking and what other dangers their child may be attracted to."
The Big Red Safety Toolkit is a valuable resource that provides much more information, including a questionnaire that will garner more knowledge about the lost child and assist in search efforts. 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos

And Other Cool Stuff

A cell phone is a very useful and valuable gadget that provides a measure of safety to any outdoor adventure. And there are all sorts of great app gizmos out there for everything from navigation, weather forecasts, gear check lists and knot tying, to flashlights and much more. You might be able to post photos of your adventures in real time and text your mom from your destination. But remember . . .  a cell phone with a dead battery loses all value! Here's a great article from Coquitlam Search and Rescue which includes recommendations on how and when to use your cell phone during your grand adventure. 

Good gear doesn't come cheap. You'll want to maintain it for maximum performance and, when or if necessary, repair or fix it yourself. This Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair from Backpacker Magazine can help you save your hard-earned cash. 

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

Our Command Trailer has seen a lot of use this year and is starting to become a familiar site in the community. Thanks again to the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon for their generosity!

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