Bucket lists. Get found faster. SSAR Dinner.
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Saskatoon Search & Rescue

October 2013 Newsletter

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What's Happening 


Our 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner -- get your tickets now! 

EMO exercise and wilderness first aid review coming soon. The Training and Events section has all the details.

What's on your bucket list? Maybe skydiving? Member profile of Chris Franko.

We have ten newly trained Team Leaders

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos -- Trip plans made easy. Apps that automatically notify someone if you're overdue!

Got some gear to sell? We have a new "For Sale" section in the newsletter. 

Thank You! Thank You! The Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation recently approved $4000 funding for us to purchase GPS units and accessories. More details will follow in the next newsletter. Generous donations such as this, as well as the funding provided last year by the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon for the purchase of a command trailer, expand our ability to serve our community in an effective and professional manner.

Thanks to our members who took part in the City of Saskatoon's Neighbourhood Safety Fair on August 31. Despite being a cool and windy day, it was a valuable opportunity to be seen in the community and highlight preventative search and rescue methods. (L-R: Rick Barsky, Scott Wright, Rod Miskolczi, Shelley Ballard-McKinlay, Henry Eng. Missing from photo: Nelson Martell, Dale Johnstone.)

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!

2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SSAR's 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation. Tickets are $40 each or $280 for a table of eight; children ages 5 and under are free and ages 6-10 are half price. 

Anthony Tataryn, Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization Coordinator is the keynote speaker. Anthony was one of the original members of Saskatoon Search and Rescue and has been very supportive of our organization, especially since taking over the EMO Coordinator role. It will be interesting to hear his insights. 

There will also be a silent auction, raffle and 50/50 draws. We already have some great silent auction items, including a certificate for a ride-along with the Saskatoon Police Service.

Plan to attend! Invite friends, family, and businesses! This is SSAR's main fundraising event of the year so we need everyone's involvement to make it a success! 

For tickets, phone or text Rebecca at 306-280-9190 or email saskatoonsearchandrescue@gmail.com.

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, October 3  - 7 pm 
  • Saturday, October 5 - 9 am - 2 pm. Meet at the Fire Training Centre. 
The October training sessions are in preparation for the EMO exercise noted below. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend even if not able to take part in the exercise. Those members participating in the EMO exercise will be issued a SSAR vest so that we present a uniform appearance and come with the vest prepared with our personal equipment.
  • Thursday, November 7 - 7 pm. Group A (Basic Searchers and prospective members) will review wilderness first aid topics. Group B will be a Team Leader development session. 
  • Saturday, November 9 - Time and location to be announced. Participants will be given opportunities to practice first aid skills in wilderness scenarios. Team Leaders will be responsible for managing resources, scenes and communication.
  • Thursday, December 5 - 7 pm. General review and discussion on the last three months of training. Review of EMO exercise and the training leading up to it; debrief on the November first aid field day; review of an actual search.
  • No field day in December
A full list of training dates for the next several months can be found on the Training page of our website

Emergency Measures Organization,

Multi-Agency Training Exercise

  • Monday and Tuesday, October 7 - 8 (approximately 8 am - 4 pm each day; location to be announced)
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

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 Tuesday, October 29, starting at 7 pm. (Note the change from our usual meeting day due to the last Thursday of the month falling on Halloween.) 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

Chris Franko

What’s on your bucket list?
Rock climbing? A helicopter ride? A couple of trips to Tokyo for martial arts training? Run a Spartan race? Skydiving?
Chris Franko has already “been there, done that” and bungee jumping is next on his list. Just a little bit of adventurous spirit in there!
Chris has studied martial arts (Ninjutsu and NSI – Natural Spirit International) for the past ten years. His dedication and commitment to the sport is apparent given the teaching that he has done, the two trips to Tokyo for training and the achievement of being a 4th degree black belt.
Skydiving was actually on Chris’s mother’s bucket list but heart problems at a young age meant that she never lived to fulfill her dream. Earlier this summer, Chris and his sister dedicated their first skydives to their mom.
Chris joined Saskatoon Search and Rescue 4 ½ years ago at the encouragement of a friend who thought he would be interested. His friend was right. Chris enjoys learning new outdoor skills, first aid, CPR, and the challenge of figuring out what gear works and what doesn’t. He became a Team Leader to learn more about search techniques and expand his knowledge. These are all skills that he knows will help the community, which was his main reason for joining.
The GPS is not Chris’s favorite piece of gear. At least not yet. When you don’t own one and don’t get to practice much, it can be a frustrating experience trying to figure out all the buttons. But that may change soon thanks to Chris’s work as SSAR Fundraising Director. We were all very excited when the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation (DDCDC) recently approved the $4000 funding application that Chris spearheaded to purchase GPS units and accessories for SSAR.
Chris was also instrumental in SSAR obtaining a $30,000 donation from the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon last year that went towards the purchase of our command trailer. As a 
past member of the Kinsmen Club, who helped raise funds for a variety of community projects, he knew the process and helped guide our application through.
Chris is the owner of Caliber Air Repair, a furnace and duct cleaning company, that he started five years ago after doing a considerable amount of due diligence. He started with just one van and a home office and has grown the company to three vans, three employees, office space and a receptionist shared with another small business. And they have a hard time keeping up with the demand!
Chris is married to Kristin, a pediatric nurse, and they have four “kids” . . . Fozzie and Charlie, the dogs, and Bling and Frannie, the cats. It’s a busy household! 

Team Leader Course

A Most Excellent Weekend of Training

Written by Nelson Martell

The plan for the weekend was two days of situations and review of searching techniques and lost person behaviour. This setup allowed us to switch roles and take turns being team leaders. We met at Blackstrap Provincial Park at 9 am Saturday morning and went through until 3 pm the following day – with very little sleep over night.
I found it very beneficial to have time to practice being a Team Leader (TL) with guidance from our already experienced and qualified TLs. The general outline for the weekend was as follows: each Team Leader candidate was given three topics to teach the others throughout the weekend. Before every situation candidates would teach topics applicable to the coming situation. After receiving our briefings from Command, TLs would relay the information received to our teams. The mock situations ranged from missing children to medical evacuations and evidence searches.
I was really exposed to the duties and responsibilities of a Team Leader on one of my situations Saturday afternoon. I was the Team Leader doing a Type 1 (Hasty) search for a missing child with relatively few details other than his age, name and my search area. I was really forced to approach the search from the view of my lost subject, using my knowledge of lost person behaviour to guide my team and me. Luckily, I had Dale Johnstone on my team who brought his expertise to guide my decision-making and search plan. After that moment, I felt the role of TL made more sense to me. I fully understood that I had to consider not only my team’s safety, but also the strategy we used to search for our subject. I felt more in control when I looked at the entire situation and not only my moves as a searcher.
Throughout this weekend I was discovering more and more the talents and experiences of some of our other members. I had lots of opportunities to talk with other members and learn about their experiences in search and rescue. In the end I found this weekend to be one of my favorite exercises since joining SSAR. I now feel prepared to lead a team in the field.
I would like to thank the Jeff Baxter, Rebecca Bassett, Dale Johnstone for all the planning and organizing and all participants in the course for making it such a great weekend.
New Team Leaders: Shelley Ballard-McKinlay, Floyd Besserer, Louis Bossaer, Justin Ebbert, Henry Eng, Jarod Harvey, Sean LeMoine, Nelson Martell, Cam McLelland, Mark Wells.
Thanks also to Lance Athmer, Chris Franko, and North Corman Park  SAR member Devin King for coming out and adding to our participant numbers. 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos

And Other Cool Stuff

Whether going out on a blind date or a backcountry hike, you'll want someone to know if you don't make it home on time. The Bugle app (sorry, iPhone version only so far) was developed with input from search and rescue professionals, guides and other outdoor enthusiasts. Enter some basic information into the app (name, emergency contacts, make/model of your vehicle, etc.), make a trip plan and set a timer. If you don't cancel the timer or check in when expected, the app automatically sends an email and/or text message to your emergency contacts with all the information you entered in your trip plan. Get found faster! (Thanks to SSAR member Lance Athmer for this gizmo tip.)

Another free and simple service that's "better than a trail of bread crumbs" is the iNeverSolo website. Same idea -- register, enter basic information and emergency contacts, make a trip plan, set a time frame. If you don't cancel the timer, your emergency contacts will be notified. Get found faster!

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.

For Sale

SAR-Related Gear

Original SWAT Classic 9" waterproof boots. Style #1276. Black (not CSA toe). Men's size 11. Barely worn. $50. Email ssar.dalej@gmail.com  

Do you have SAR-related gear you'd like to advertise for sale in the SSAR newsletter? Contact the Communications Director. 
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