A SAR gift guide. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
View this email in your browser

Saskatoon Search & Rescue

December 2013 Newsletter

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Email Us

What's Happening 


Things didn't slow down at all in November in the world of Saskatoon Search and Rescue!

On November 14 at 9:46 pm we received an activation notice from the Saskatoon Police Service. The subject, a 57-year-old Saskatoon woman, had left home that morning and had not been heard from since. Below-freezing temperatures that evening increased the urgency of the situation and SSAR conducted a search of alleyways and a construction site near the point last seen. Thirteen SSAR members contributed 51.5 hours to the search, which was called off at 3:00 am the next morning. The subject eventually returned home on her own.

We held a very successful 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner. Thanks to Fundraising Director Chris Franko and his crew!

Everyone learned and experienced a lot at the first aid training days. Hats off to everyone who came out on that very c-c-c-cold day.

There are some changes to our 2014 training schedule (no date changes) and several other events to put on your calendar. 

Christmas is coming soon! Is the SAR member in your life difficult to buy for? Check out this holiday gift guide for ideas. 

One of our members attended the SARscene Conference and Games in October and found it to be a very valuable experience. See her report here.

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!

Thank you!

Fundraising Dinner a Huge Success! 

Written by Chris Franko

The 2nd Annual Fundraising dinner was a huge success!
Thank you to all the individuals and organizations that provided sponsorship for the event and/or donated items for the silent auction, raffle and door prizes. See our website for a full listing.

Thank you to our keynote speaker, EMO Coordinator Anthony Tataryn. Anthony has been a great supporter of Saskatoon Search and Rescue since its inception and he was instrumental in SSAR being involved in Exercise Domino. His presentation was motivating to SSAR members and the families that support them and was educational for those people in attendance who may not be familiar with what SSAR does. 
A lot of volunteer hours went into making this dinner successful and the efforts of everyone before, during and after the event did not go unnoticed. A special thanks to the following:

  • Shelley Ballard-McKinlay for her countless hours preparing us for the event;
  • Rebecca Basset for overseeing the financial end of the event and her input in the setup;
  • Jarod Harvey for his talents as MC (and his mentions that I forgot to mention during my speech!);
  • Kent Orosz for his efforts in talking to our guests and giving advice as needed;
  • Henry Eng for his assistance with the silent auction;
  • Mark Wells and Sean LeMoine for working the raffle;
  • Lance Athmer, Louis Bossaer, and Stephnie Watson for working the 50/50;
  • Mike Galbiati, Henry Eng, Lance Athmer, Sean LeMoine, Stephnie Watson and Stuart Stevenson for their help with Friday and Saturday setup;
  • Maggie Charron for her help at the front desk. 
And of course all of the members who helped us get all of the amazing prize packages and silent auction items that contributed to our funds raised. 
All of your hard work and dedication made my job of overseeing everything that much easier.

Thank you! 

Dinner photos by Jocelyn Rae Harvey.

First Aid 

Training Scenario Day

Written by Rebecca Basset

On our November 9 training day we welcomed Tyler Erker, an Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) with MD Ambulance and First Aid Instructor as a co-instructor. The intent of the day was to put teams through scenarios that required first aid attention with escalating levels of stressors on each team. Each team got several opportunities to go through the scenarios while the other teams practiced rolls and packaged patients on to stretchers/baskets.

As this was the first day of the winter season, each participant also had their own experience with testing their clothing choices for cold weather activities and monitoring fellow members for signs of hypothermia and frostbite. 

The last scenario of the day required one team to do CPR on a training mannequin for a longer duration. Thanks to Gerry Schriemer from MD Ambulance, this team was able to place a call to the dispatch center to simulate a 9-1-1 call. This was a valuable and critical training experience for our team!

As the scenario progressed, we were all surprised to see an ambulance arrive! The crew arriving (Joel Kinzel and Tyler Selvig) assisted the scenario further by directing our members as to how they would use our teams to pack up the patient and move him to the ambulance, which was not closely accessible. It was a true test of team work to continue CPR while this was coordinated and then to actually move the patient in short increments, only to stop and continue CPR for a while before continuing. The joint effort between the two groups (SSAR and MD Ambulance) is something we hope to further develop in the future! 

A big thank you to Tyler Erker, Gerry Schriemer, Joel Kinzel, Tyler Selvig and the dispatch center staff, all from MD Ambulance, for their support of our training day and to Saskatoon Fire & Protective Services for letting us borrow their full-sized mannequin. Taylor Korol and Spencer Pitzel were actors in the day’s scenarios and are also Primary Care Paramedics who helped us previously at the Swamp Donkey Adventure Race. They were a great addition and have both considered joining SSAR to become Basic Searchers as well! 

Welcome to the new prospective members who joined us for the day. We were very happy to have you there and we hope to see you out for future training!

Training day photo by Sean Taylor.

Training and Events

Monthly Training Meetings

All Thursday evening training sessions are held at the Fire Training Centre, 114 Ave W S, unless otherwise specified. Field days are generally held the following Saturday.
  • Thursday, December 5 - 7 pm. General review and discussion on the last three months of training and the key lessons learned from them. There will also be an "Ask the Expert" session where members and prospective members can ask questions about something they'd like more information on. Please send your questions to saskatoonsearchandrescue@gmail.com with the subject line "Ask the Expert." Your question can be on any topic related to what we do in Saskatoon Search and Rescue, from gear to procedures to search tactics. We will then assign your question to someone in the chapter who will prepare an answer and then present it in about 5-10 minutes at the meeting. If time allows, we may be able to field a question or two on the night of the meeting, but the idea with getting the questions in advance is we don't have to put anyone on the spot. That way we can put your question in front of the right expert and give them a little time to put together some great information for everyone.
  • No field day in December
  • January 2, 2014 - 7 pm. Preparation for the Field Day.
  • January 4, 2014 - Field Day. Topic TBD.
The Training Committee is re-evaluating the 2014 training calendar and some of the topics in the next few months will be changing. The dates that have been set will not change. The plan will be modified to better align with the goals recently identified during the strategic planning process, a new Basic Searcher training program and some other changes happening within the Committee. The Winter Survival/Operations Field Day we normally hold in January (with an optional overnight) will not be held in January and will instead be moved to either February or March. Details on the calendar will be released as soon as plans are finalized.
A full list of training dates for the next several months can be found on the Training page of our website

Prospective Member's Meeting

Anyone interested in joining Saskatoon Search and Rescue should attend the prospective member's meeting on Friday, December 6 at 7 pm at the Fire Training Centre. Learn about the Basic Searcher Course, what's involved in being a SSAR member, and look at the type of gear our members have in their 24-hour pack. Contact our membership coordinator, Jarod, if you have any questions.

SARSAV Meeting

The SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, December 7, starting at 9:30 am at the Travelodge Hotel in Saskatoon. All current members of Saskatchewan SAR chapters are welcome to attend.

SSAR Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Saskatoon Search and Rescue will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014, starting at 7:00 pm at the Fire Training Centre at 116 Avenue W S. It is essential that all SSAR members attend in order to have a voice in your organization. At this meeting, reports will be presented summarizing the activities of the organization over the past year, new directions will be discussed, proposed changes to our Constitution and Bylaws will be voted on and nominations and elections of all Executive and Director positions will be held. This is the most important meeting of the year as it determines the directions we will be taking as an organization over the next year. 

If you are interested in getting more involved in SSAR, please consider running for one of the positions. Email us for more information or a list of positions and job descriptions

SARSAV Conference and Games

The Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) Conference and Games will be held May 23-25, 2014. Please save these dates! Details of pre-conference courses, topics, and exhibitor information will be distributed in the new year.

Executive and Directors Meeting

There is no SSAR Executive and Directors meeting in December. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 27 starting at 7 pm. 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.

Gift Buying Guide

For Your Favourite SAR Member

It’s an age-old dilemma. What to buy? What to buy!?!?
If you’ve got a search and rescue member in your life (especially a new one) here are a few ideas that may inspire you. This is by no means an all-inclusive list but just a few suggestions in a variety of price ranges, some of which SSAR members have on their own wish lists!
Key Items
Being a fully outfitted SAR member can be an expensive prospect but there are a few items that shouldn’t be skimped on. If Santa or Mrs. Santa wants to splurge . . .
  • A backpack in the 50L capacity range is a good size to carry all the items a SAR member will need to look after him or herself for a 24-hour period. Several SSAR members like the Osprey packs for the multiple pockets and storage areas but there are a lot of good backpacks out there.
  • A smaller daypack is a good multi-use investment.
  • Sturdy, well-fitting hiking boots. Comfort is key! So is being able to stay on your feet in icy conditions. Yaktrax will help! 
  • A hardshell jacket that will provide protection against wind and rain. Again, there are a lot of good brands out there. Looking around at SSAR training days it would seem our members like Arcteryx jackets. 
The SSAR Store
We have t-shirts, hats, decals and sew-on patches. Contact us if you would like to purchase one of these items.

The Essentials
Anyone who goes into the outdoors for any reason needs to have the essentials. This may vary depending on the activity but here’s a list provided by AdventureSmart for land survival.   
  • Flashlight, including spare batteries (headlamps are most preferred for their “hands-free” ability) 
  • Fire starter (e.g. waterproof matches, firesteel, candle, lighter)
  • Whistle (or other signaling device such as a signal mirror)
  • Food & water related items (e.g. sturdy water bottle, camelback, energy bars, dried fruit, purification tablets, etc.); the Jetboil seems to be the stove of choice for SSAR members.
  • Emergency shelter (this could be as basic as a tarp, thermal blanket, or a more heavy duty bivy sack
  • Knife, multi-tool, saw
  • First aid kit
  • Sun protection (glasses, sunscreen, hat)
  • Navigation aids (map, compass, GPS – the Garmin GPS Map 62S is the model used by SSAR)
  • Extra clothing - a merino wool or other non-cotton t-shirt or a fleece jacket or pullover can be both fashionable and useful. 
Stocking Stuffers
  • Socks – SmartWool PhD’s were Editor’s Choice in this review. 
  • A Rite in the Rain notebook is perfect for all weather conditions! 
  • A Space Pen that writes in any conditions! Rain, wind, snow and sleet. We like the Apollo model
  • A survival bracelet made with paracord is stylish and useful. Buy one already made or get a kit and make some for the whole family. 
Whatever you decide, these ideas will be a hit with anyone who loves playing in the outdoors!

SARscene 2013

October in Chilliwack

By Shelley Ballard-McKinlay

I attended the SARscene Conference and Games at the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC) in Chilliwack, B.C. from October 19-21. The PRTC was a great facility that was able to accommodate both the games and conference in the same location and the surrounding area is a beautiful place to visit.

As a newbie to SAR this was my first time at this event. Coming from a SAR chapter that doesn’t see a lot of activations, I was expecting the Games to be much harder than they seemed from my viewer’s perspective, but they involved tasks and scenarios that any SAR group should be able to do (first aid skills, navigation, survival skills, etc.). The scoring seemed to focus on teamwork, communication, leadership, competency, knowledge, decision-making skills and safety.

On Games day there was also a trade show, static vehicle/equipment displays from several BC SAR teams and live demonstrations such as a helicopter extraction by Chilliwack SAR.

During the two days of the conference, I attended many really interesting presentations and, with multiple sessions occurring at the same time, it was often difficult to decide which one to go to. Following are the three that I took the most away from.

As the Communications Director for Saskatoon Search and Rescue, I felt it was important that I attend the “Social Media in SAR” presentation.  Although the panelists talked about using social media to promote your group and tell people what you’re doing, the really interesting part of the session was learning about using social media to help locate people.

The “Social Fundraising” session provided some really good guidelines on how to do a fundraising campaign and the importance of storytelling.

The “SAR Response to Alberta Floods” was very relevant to what could potentially happen in Saskatchewan and it seems that SAR groups in Alberta face many of the same challenges we do or probably would in the same situation. It was interesting to hear about the lessons learned and what they might do differently next time.

I would definitely go to SARscene again and encourage all SSAR members to attend the SARSAV Conference and Games next May. It’s sure to be an educational and interesting time. 
Forward to Friend

Copyright © 2013 Saskatoon Search and Rescue, All rights reserved.

subscribe to this list     unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp