Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year End Summary

2011 Year End Summary:

In 2011 BAMRU participated in 28 missions, logged 2352 human-hours on missions , and 6120 human-hours  (1769 more than last year!) on training, in addition to countless hours which each member logged to enhance personal skills, knowledge, and abilities. We also saw seven membership promotions and reluctantly but proudly let other members go to pursue their dreams.

The team was also able to make a good dent in our fundraising goals thanks to Cal Hoagland and the fundraising committee. We hope to continue this trend in 2012 in order to maintain our readiness which relies on team equipment and skills for our members.  If you would like to help us in this endeavor, you can donate here: 

Looking forward to a safe and happy 2012!   

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fall Training Summary

It's been a busy fall for the Bamruvians.

We kicked off the season of change with a succesful North Peak summit in September; the final in a series of summer alpine trainings which brought us to Mt. Abbot, Laurel and Conness.

In October, we held our medical training in Redwood City. This two day course was designed for SAR volunteers and presented by Tom Lass (Firefighter Paramedic) and Dr. John Lissoway of Stanford.  We covered patient care issues encountered in outdoor and high altitude emergencies, basic patient assessment, triage in the wilderness, wilderness emergency scenarios and use of various search and rescue equipment. 

For November's training we found ourselves hanging over a rocky ledge in a Berekeley park as we reviewed and refined skills from triangulating to building and running technical rope hauling systems.  Our skills training day  is an opportunity for team and field members to get important, hands on skills practice in any area.

This past weekend, we took the opportunity to stay local once again before the snow hits, and we practiced setting up the field antenna with our beloved truck "Baby Blue".  The field antenna can be set up to extend well above the height of the truck and provides us with a better radio range for vital communications on searches.

This month, members of BAMRU will be digging out their snowshoes, crampons and ice axes as we say goodbye to the fall and prepare for the winter season.  This winter our team will be readying ourselves for participation in the Mountain Rescue Association's snow and ice re-cert on March 3rd, 2012 in June Lake.         

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Give the Gift of Someone Being Found!

If you're a snowboarder, skier, hiker, climber, or a person who ever leaves the house, there is a chance that someday you or someone you know may require the help of search and rescue.  This holiday season, consider helping our team to continue to operate by making an online donation.  Donations of $25 or more will receive a  BAMRU t-shirt in return.  Wishing everyone safe and happy holidays from BAMRU!

To redeem your t-shirt, send your donation confirmation with shirt size, color, and shipping information to jamescutsinger at     click here to donate

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankfully, search and rescue call outs don't always come pouring in.  When we aren't training or participating in an operation, BAMRU team members can be found volunteering at events all over our local community.  Here are some of the things we've been up to this fall. 

Urban Shield:
Over the weekend of October 15 - 17, BAMRU was requested to provide staff at the annual Urban Shield SWAT exercise. During the weekend, SWAT teams from around the world converged on the Bay Area to compete, with each team not sleeping for more than a few hours the entire weekend and performing tasks from rappelling off the Bay Bridge to taking a building back from terrorists.  Over 75 law enforcement  agencies took part in one form or another and over 3,000 persons were involved in the event as participants, role players, or volunteers.  The exercise was operated by the Alameda County Sheriff, with BAMRU operating on behalf of the San Mateo County Sheriff.

We extend our thanks and congratulations to the teams who participated and look forward to helping with other trainings in the future.

Halfmoon Bay Pumpkin Festival:
The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Fest is the biggest coastside art & music festival of the year; the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office (and BAMRU) provided traffic control and crowd services.  A BAMRU team memebr was on site to help with logistics, crowd control and traffic control at several locations, and returned three lost children to their mothers.

Hug-a-tree is a community outreach program for which we periodically perform presentations on behalf of the Sheriff's Office. The program teaches kids (and parents) some basic and vital survival principles to use if they ever get lost.  We have performed this for schools, youth groups, Boy & Girl Scouts, friends and family groups. It promotes good practices for kids (and adults) when going into the back country and can have applications for urban environments as well.

Coming up- Storm Watch:
The rainy season is upon us.  Although we welcome the needed water, sometimes we get too much of a good thing.  When the weather results in dangerous conditions you can expect to see BAMRU members out in the community assisting the San Mateo County Sheriff's office with their Storm Watch program.  'Storm Watch' is an emergency response procedure that the San Mateo Sheriff's Office uses for the Santa Cruz mountains and San Mateo coast.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Topo Maps

BAMRU is a heavy user of GPS and Mapping tools, and has deep experience with a variety of products. Having quick access to current maps is critical for our team.

One of our members has developed CalTopo, a website with printable USGS topos for all of California. It's faster and more convenient than any service we've seen. CalTopo was created for search and rescue teams, and now for the first time it is available to the general public.

Give CalTopo a try, and if you like it, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to BAMRU. Learn More

Monday, October 24, 2011

San Carlos Search

On Wednesday afternoon, Oct 19th, BAMRU was called to a search in San Carlos. Local residents heard a person with a dog stranded in the bush, and called 911. Police arrived and heard a dog, but could not approach the subject due to steep and difficult terrain.

BAMRU staffed one operational period Wednesday evening, and a follow-on period which started at daybreak on Thursday. Teams from San Mateo SAR, Alameda and Marin joined the search. The subject was not found.

The vegetation in the search area was thick. Following the operation, a BAMRU searcher had to visit the hospital to be treated for a bad case of poison oak.

Thanks to all who attended.

News: San Mateo Patch

Monday, October 17, 2011

Armstrong Redwoods Search

On the evening of Friday, October 7th BAMRU received a page for assistance in locating a missing subject whose vehicle was found parked at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Sonoma County.  The park is located just outside of Guerneville, about an hour and a half north of San Francisco.

The following morning of Saturday, October 8th BAMRU joined about five other SAR units for an 0830 briefing by Sonoma County SAR.  The missing person was not from the local area and was described as an individual that did not show signs of having trouble at home or at work. 

BAMRU  searched a densely vegetated hillside, that consisted of trees, brush and poison oak.  This search required the team to use their navigational expertise and their familiarity with the use of UTM coordinates as they translate to the map proved extremely useful.

Around noon on the 8th the subject was located near the last point last seen and media reports indicate that it is likely to be deemed a suicide.  Our thoughts and condolences go out to the friends and family.

News: Press Democrat, Sacramento Man Missing In Sonoma Redwoods

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kings Canyon Search

At approximately 0300 on October 1, BAMRU was paged to provide mutual aid support in King's Canyon National Park for a solo hiker who was one week past his planned exit date after an approximately 111 mile journey. 

Our theme of preparedness was not in vain as NPS, who was managing the search, assigned BAMRU to a 72 hour ground search assignment.  The team was transported 50 minutes via NPS helicopter to the start of their assignment where they proceeded to search until sunset before arriving at Evolution Meadow and setting up camp for the evening. 
At 0800 on October 2 the team called in via satellite phone and were informed that the subject had walked out under his own power and in good health.  After hearing the good news, BAMRU took the opportunity to do a small training exercise of a fine grid search on their way to the LZ where NPS greeted them once again and returned them to the helibase.

As always, we are grateful for a good outcome and the resources provided by the National Park Service. 


News: Fresno Bee | Mercury News | ABC News

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Huddart Park Find

Last evening BAMRU was called to search for a five year old girl in Huddart Park. She was camping with a large group, and went missing just as darkness fell.

So confusing is the Huddart terrain, so thick its' forest. The search operation included K9 teams, San Mateo SAR, a Helicopter, mounted patrol, and BAMRU.

A dog picked up the scent. Somehow this five year old had gotten to the bottom of a ravine, steep and dark black. Alone there with a green glow stick, she was found, safe and healthy.

"The moment you give a child back to her mother, who never knew if she would see that child again, really makes the early morning trainings, the long slogs thru mud and rain, all worth it." - BAMRU on NPR

News: New York Post | Redwood City Patch | London Daily Mail

Monday, August 8, 2011

Covelo Search

On August 3, 2011, BAMRU was paged to respond to a missing man in the Mendocino National Forest in Trinity County. The search base was the Covelo Forest Service Station with the command post located several hours into the forest via fire roads. The search had been continued via the involvement of Napa Search and Rescue, Marin Search and Rescue, CARDA, and the Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt County Sheriff's Offices.

BAMRU members transported to the Forest Service station late August 3 and caught a few hours of sleep before being transported to the CP. Nothing significant was found during the Thursday search operations. The search continued on Friday, and was concluded with the subject not found at the end of Friday.

The search area was vast and remote. The 3 hour drive to Covelo was easy compared to the 2 1/2 hour off road adventure required to reach the search base. It is often hard to appreciate just how rugged and remote some parts of California are. A relevant book is Ishi - In Two Worlds, which tells the story of a Native American who emerged from the stone age into the modern world in 1911.

Our condolences go out to the subject's family and friends. Thanks to the BAMRU members who participated in the search.

Update: Aug 13 According to Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, the missing man, Martin Dyer was located alive in the Hoxie Crossing area. More information at the Sacramento Bee

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Missing Hiker in Portola State Park

On July 7th, a lost 27 YO male contacted his wife via cell phone saying he was lost and needed help. The subject was on a cross country trip from Portola State Park to Big Basin, a rugged and densely forested area in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

SMSAR, BAMRU, and SCU began search operations in early evening. BAMRU team members were given hasty search assignments to flank a tracking dog and handler, drive the valley floor road, climb the trails from the valley floor, and hike the ridge trails to Lane Camp and in the opposite direction (an approximate 11 mile loop).

As day broke, BAMRU crossed paths with a group of lumber company workers who had seen the subject. After that, the Subject was quickly found in good condition, and transported back to awaiting Sheriff Deputies and Park Rangers for their debrief.

It was learned that the Subject was initially without water, disoriented, exhausted, and very confused about the trails / roads along the ridge. Indeed, the terrain was so confusing that our searchers also lost their way from time to time.

Many thanks to our searchers who worked all night, and were able to bring this gentleman home safe and sound.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Amador County Search

On Sunday July 3rd, BAMRU received a mutual aid request from the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) to support Amador County Sheriff’s Office (SO) in the search for a missing woman from Ventura County, California.

Our expertise in search management and steep technical terrain came in handy as we helped to run the search and provided ground resources at a remote area of El Dorado National Forest.

On Monday, July 4th, two days and nights after she was last seen, the woman was located by a California Air National Guard helicopter, just after dropping off a BAMRU team at their search assignment.

The National Guard team tended to the subject before returning her to the Command Post for further medical evaluation and imminent reunion with her family.

BAMRU was honored to be able to support our neighbors in Amador County in this important operation.

Links: California Air National Guard | Camarillo hiker found safe | Crowd welcomes rescued hiker | ANG Photos | Area Map

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Climbing Falls

Climbing season has arrived! Here's an educational video, and some pro-tip reminders: 1) always wear your helmet, 2) use reasonable runouts and 3) don't backclip!

Be careful out there!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sierra Journal Article

Emilie Cortes is the 2011 Chair of the Sierra Club Peak Climbing Section. She recently wrote a nice BAMRU profile in the Sierra Journal. Check it out! (BAMRU: Getting Your Dirtbag Butt Out of a Rock and a Hard Place)

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Rescuer's Perspective

Here's an interesting video shot from the helmet cam of a rescuer in Banff National Park.

More information at the Adventure Journal

Wear your helmets out there!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Golden Gate Search

On Tuesday, May 24th BAMRU was called for a Mutual Aid search in the vicinity of the Golden Gate and SF Presidio. The subject was a missing 15 year old girl from Danville.

BAMRU sent a team for one operational period Tuesday evening. We had another team ready for a follow-on period Wednesday, but the search was called off.

Media reports indicate that the girl may have committed suicide.

Our thoughts go out to the missing girl's family. Thanks to BAMRU members to participated in the search.

News: Danville Patch | KTVU

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Semper Paratus

The Boy Scout motto is "Be Prepared" - Semper Paratus.

Two BAMRU members recently went on an overnight backpacking trip in Point Reyes National Seashore. At about 9:30pm, they were approached by a couple asking for directions. The couple had gotten lost, and now faced a 5 mile hike to their car in the pitch black.

This is a great example of why you should always carry a light-source and map, part of the ten essentials.

Extra batteries are also a great idea, and the best place to store extra batteries is in an extra headlamp. Since both BAMRU members had their backup lights with them, they were able to help these hikers without having to cook dinner in the dark.

Over the years BAMRU has recovered many hikers who have gotten lost at night. We're pleased that in this situation everyone made it home safe and sound.

Sometimes the difference between a memorable adventure and an unfortunate outcome rests on simple details in preparation. Semper Paratus!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Missing Student Found

On Thursday May 5, BAMRU was paged for a mutual aid search in Annadel State Park, Sonoma County. The subject was a 19 year old male. Suicide notes had been found both at his home and college residence, and a hand gun was missing from his home.

BAMRU had teams in the field for an operational period that started Friday at 0600, and completed search assignments together with responders from Cal-ESAR and Marin SAR.

BAMRU returned for a second operational period on Saturday at 0600, and was paired with a CARDA dog team. After a 2 mile hike to the start of the search assignment, the dog found the subject's body.

Our team secured the area, and reported the find to CP. Post-find coordination was largely done by cell phone. BAMRU secured a helicopter LZ, and police investigators were flown in. Then BAMRU returned to CP for debriefing.

Wildlife was abundant during this search. BAMRU members saw deer, jack rabbits, wild turkey, lizards, geese, and turkey vultures. In separate incidents, members nearly stepped on a sleeping young fawn and a rattle snake. A non BAMRU team reported seeing a mountain lion chasing a deer. Wildflowers and scenery were at their best.

Many thanks to our members, who put in long hours and worked professionally. Our condolences to the student's family for their tragic loss.

News articles: Missing SSU Student | Student's Car Found | Student's Body Found

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ice Climbing Fall

The Internet is becoming a great source of accident post-mortem videos, and here is another in the genre. The video and online comments here and here are educational.

Fall on Vimeo: thanks to Jeffrey Butler for sharing.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Avalanche

Backcountry ski conditions have been good, and we still have a couple months to go in our spring season. Avalanche risk in the spring is normally lower than mid-winter. But it can happen.

Here's an educational video published by a Swiss skier who was caught in an avalanche recently.

The skier suffered broken vertebra, but survived. Thanks to thomasiasus for sharing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

San Carlos Search

On 4/14/11, 1755 BAMRU responded to an in-county callout for an 82-year-old female with dementia missing from her San Carlos hills residence. She was last seen at 1400 and had past history of walking away. Her direction of travel was unknown.

Temporary CP was at the San Carlos police station and we got the ball rolling by setting up an overhead team. After a team briefing, 4 dog teams and several ground teams were deployed. BAMRU was assigned a hasty search in the open space canyon behind the houses.

As the sun was going down, the subject was located in a nearby neighborhood. And in a interesting twist, a second report came in for a missing man that was thought to be searching for the original subject in the caynon behind the houses (our search area). The description, of the missing man was immediately recognized by one of the search teams and he was located shortly after on the sidewalk. All subjects returned to their home safely.

Big Thanks for all those who responded. We had a cool assignment and once again the CP gear was helpful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Devil's Canyon Search

On April 9th at 8pm BAMRU was requested to search for a missing 24 year old woman who had been reported missing in the Devil's Canyon area of southern San Mateo County. She was described as having some backcountry experience, but not dressed for nightime temps that dropped to the 30's/40's. (leggings/light shirt/flip-flops).

BAMRU searched a cave entrance was near the top of a 40' waterfall. We dropped rope and rappelled to search the pools below. Other teams searched upstream and downstream in Type 2 terrain. Later in the night BAMRU responded to investigate potential clues, rappelling waterfall areas where the missing subject could have fallen.

At daybreak the subject was found when she hiked out and found a local residence. She was cold, scratched, and had lost her flip-flops, but was in good health.

There were a lot of interesting aspects of this search. We used our tracking skills to follow tracks. We built two technical systems and used a lot of personal rope skills. We also assisted with plans and some CP work.

Media Coverage: Mercury News

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Redwood City Home

For more than 15 years, BAMRU's Redwood City location has been 500 Allerton in Redwood City.

Starting this week, BAMRU moves to a new home in Redwood City. Our new Redwood City meeting location will be 455 County Center, Room 101.

Note that BAMRU will continue to use the same location in Castro Valley for our bi-monthly East Bay meetings.

Our next meeting in our new Redwood City location will be Monday, May 16 at 7:30pm.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tree Well Survival

Tree wells occur in deep snow. They form a narrow vertical chute next to the tree trunk, and can be six feet deep or more. Self-rescue from a tree well is difficult.

Tree well fatalities can be described as "Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death", or NARSID. Learn more about NARSID here.

Here's a video taken by a man who was caught in a tree well on Mt. Shasta.

Luckily this man was found and rescued by local ski patrollers. See more at NWCN News.

BAMRU has been involved in a number of tree-well related operations this season. We can testify that it is often difficult to see someone who has fallen into a tree well.

When skiing in deep snow, go with a partner! And keep your partner in sight! Learn more safety tips at

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Portola 10-22

10-22 is radio code that means 'disregard last instruction'. For BAMRU, a 10-22 typically means that a missing person has been found while a team is en-route to a search assignment.

And that is what happened this evening. BAMRU was called to search for a missing person in Portola State Park, and the person was found alive while our team was en-route. A 10-22.

10-22's normally are not especially notable. But this callout occurs on the last day of March. And it is notable that in March our team has been activated for eight operations, in addition to completing a successful MRA recertification, while also launching a very strong annual recruiting campaign.

Thanks to all for their contributions in this busy month!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sonoma Mutual Aid

BAMRU was activated for a Mutual Aid search in Sonoma County this morning at 5am.

The missing person was a teen who was reported overdue last evening. The subject spent the night out in the bush, off trail in Annadel State Park.

He was found by Sonoma County searchers after sunrise, cold but safe, just after our team arrived at the search scene.

More news on this operation: Press Democrat | ABC News

Monday, March 28, 2011

Snowboarder Located

On Saturday March 26th, BAMRU received a mutual aid request for a missing 22 year old male snowboarder at Sierra-at-Tahoe, Lake Tahoe.

The search followed a multi-day storm that dropped many feet of new snow in the Sierra.

More than 70 searchers were involved from Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Patrol, Marin, El Dorado County SAR, and BAMRU.

The victim was found Sunday at the ski resort, deceased in a tree well.

More news: YubaNet | Fox News | Lakeside News | CBS News

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Three Hikers Found

Friday March 25 BAMRU was called to a mutual aid search in Lake County, near Pillsbury Lake. The search subjects were 3 males aged 16-20, who went on a multi-day trek in mountains that received 2-3 feet of new snow.

BAMRU responders arrived at CP throughout Friday night and early Saturday. Responding teams came with 40+ responders from Lake Co SO/SAR, National Forest, Marin, CoCo, BAMRU, Monterey, Tahoe Nordic.

BAMRU involvement started at 6:30 am Saturday and included 1) drafting search assignments, 2) transportation of team in the field, 3) medical, 4) comms relay, and 5) hasty and side-search teams.

Trail conditions varied from dirt/mud to thigh/waist deep of snow. Rain, sleet, snow through out the day with with light to moderate winds. Fully overcast. Air support not possible. Transportation of teams to search assignments proved to be very challenging. Casualties and challenges included broken snowcat, broken truck axle, stuck vehicles. Communications was challenging to non-existent, no cell phone coverage, radio was spotty and required repeaters or human relay. Sat phones were very helpful.

Initial tracks in snow reported about 10:30am. Subsequent clues and redirect of resources led to locating the 3 subjects together in good condition about 12:30pm.

More News: Press Democrat

Mock Search Training

On Saturday, March 26th, BAMRU conducted a Mock Search Training with 18 guests that have expressed interest in joining BAMRU. The scene was cold and rainy, and provided a great venue for an introduction to our people and search techniques.

During the mock search, we organised our group into 5 teams, and handed out search assignments. Our victim was placed somewhere near the swollen Pescadero Creek, where he had fallen and suffered a sprained ankle, with a possible spinal injury and symptoms of diabetes.

The finding team quickly started the patient assessment process, while maintaining c-spine precautions. Another guest crafted an improvised rigid splint using trekking poles, duct tape and emergency blankets. They administered food and water to elevate the patient's level of consciousness, and kept him insulated.

The team did a terrific job with our patient.

To wrap up the day we discussed guest's next steps before the April Meeting (completing the ICS-100 course), previewed the SAR Basic Training in April, and reviewed BAMRU's application and interview process.

This training was completed while BAMRU was simultaneously responding to a Mutual Aid search. Many thanks to all our guests, and to BAMRU members who led this training.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Storm Watch

'Storm Watch' is an emergency response procedure that the San Mateo Sheriff's Office uses for the Santa Cruz mountains and San Mateo coast.

During a severe storm on March 24, BAMRU received a Storm Watch callout. A BAMRU team was dispatched to the coast, and immediately started responding to calls.

Over a twelve hour period BAMRU was deployed to check water levels in creeks, to assist on scenes with downed trees and power lines, and to clear rockfall from roads.

During this exercise, the BAMRU team covered a wide area, including Woodside, Skyline Boulevard, Pescadero, Tunitas Creek and Half Moon Bay.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunami Response

Following the powerful earthquake in Japan, BAMRU was alerted at 0224 Saturday to help with Tsunami response on the San Mateo County coast.

A BAMRU team deployed with other San Mateo Units. Once coast side, BAMRU members patrolled from Pacifica south to Santa Cruz County. Duties included warning people on beaches, knocking on doors to warn residents, and providing EMT resources at an evacuation center.

Large parts of the coast have no cell coverage. While on patrol, BAMRU was able to use the Satellite Phone donated by Iridium to check in with command.

BAMRU provided resources for two operational periods. The San Mateo coast was spared major damage. About 1600 the all clear was sounded and all resources were home by 1700.

Today we watch the recovery efforts in Japan with respect, mindful of the huge scale of this event. And we are reminded that we too live in an earthquake zone.

More information:
Video Simulation of Tsunami Propagation
Photo of Tsunami approaching Emeryville inside San Francisco Bay
Video of Tsunami approaching Emeryville

BAMRU is Recruiting!

BAMRU is recruiting! We seek new members who bring mountaineering, snow and ice skills to our ranks. We are part of the San Mateo County Sheriff's office and participate in SAR missions in county and around the state. We are Mountain Rescue Association certified team which means we can travel and operate in all terrain and weather.

Next Monday, March 21 we will have an open house at 7pm for people interested in finding out more about our team. Attendance at this meeting is required to participate in follow-on training and recruiting events.

The meeting location is: 500 Allerton, Redwood City, CA
The meeting room is on the third floor ("200-level")

BAMRU recruits and trains one 'class' per year, and this is the beginning of our recruiting season. On March 26th we will have an Intro SAR training which is designed for our new trainees.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

MRA Recertification

Last weekend, BAMRU completed the annual Mountain Rescue Association (MRA) recertification, this year held near Lone Pine, CA.

The Lone Pine Recert focused on technical rock rescue. Teams were engaged in scenarios involving an injured climber who was immobile in a high-angle environment. Once the subject was located, teams were expected to administer appropriate medical treatment, then extricate and transport the subject back to a command post.

On all accounts, the event was a huge success. BAMRU attended the event on the heels of a number of recent mutual aid responses across the state.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Missing Sonoma Man

Sunday we received a callout to search for a missing man in Mendocino county. BAMRU was requested to cover the off-trail hills and gullies.

The subject had been missing since Saturday afternoon. The subject's vehicle
was found on top of the ridge. Rain fell overnight but had lightened some by morning.

The man was located by a Sonoma SAR van walking up HWY 1. He was cold, wet and fatigued, but otherwise in good condition.

This operation happened as BAMRU was engaged in our annual recertification east of the Sierras.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Oakland Health Fair

John Mandish, Chris Seffens and Ethan Frantz represented BAMRU during a recent Health Fair at Oakland Technical High School. The event gave students a chance to talk with a wide variety of health and wellness service providers.

BAMRU answered questions from about 200 students over the course of the 5 hours we were there.

BAMRU displayed the contents of a trauma pack, AED, Satellite Phone, Puxing Handheld Radio, Personal First Aid Kit, Candy and other SAR related items. We also demonstrated our litter, technical rescue equipment, avalanche probe and shovel.

Thanks to Melissa Brown, the Director of La ClĂ­nica de La Raza who sponsored the event. We met a lot of great kids, and hope to attend again next year.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Search in Golden Gate Park

Last weekend BAMRU was involved in a search for a 73 year old man in San Francisco's Golden Gate park. Ground searchers worked with SF Police and eight rescue dogs. The man was not located.

More information on the search is available at KTVU.

This operation happened as BAMRU was training for our annual recertification. This is the second week in a row that training resources were redeployed to live operations.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Golden Gate Park Search

On Saturday AM, San Francisco PD requested mutual aid to continue the search efforts for a missing man who went missing from his home on Thursday Feb 24th in the evening. SFPD started searching Thursday evening and through Friday; they subsequently called for aid on Sat AM.

BAMRU was part of a combined team including 60+ searchers from six surrounding agencies.

When active searching closed for the day, 28 assignments had been written with 22 completed. The subject was not located.

More news: KTVU

Group Decision Making

We've had heavy snowfall recently, and BAMRU is looking forward to more winter trainings over the coming weeks. During these trainings, we sometimes discuss team decision making, and consider the inter-personal dynamics that help keep a group safe.

This video shows Montana skiers who were caught in an avalanche and rescued by nearby first responders. It highlights group decisions that led to a negative outcome.

Accident reports are a valuable learning tool. Thanks to the Montana skiers for sharing.

Related Material: Accidents in North American Mountaineering

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Section Chiefs

On February 20th, Ethan Frantz and Colin Little successfully completed the Section Chief Search Management course taught by Chris Young of Contra Costa SAR. This course has been developed by the Bay Area Search and Rescue Council to help standardize search management practices throughout the Bay Area.

This course is designed to teach hands on and theoretical skills in search management at the Section Chief level in Planning, Operations and Logistics functions. The cadre of instructors bring hundreds of hours of search and search management experience. The course follows the four phases of a search: hasty, 1st operational, multiple operations, and the find/suspension periods.

Also present at the course were Cal Hoagland and Bill Parker. Both had previously completed the class and volunteered their time to help proctor the tabletop exercises.

Congrats Ethan and Colin!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shasta Search

This weekend BAMRU was involved in a difficult search for a 23 year old man who went missing while snowboarding on Mt. Shasta. Our main search assignments were done on back-country skis, in steep terrain and deep snow. Saturday our team was on scene from midnight to 6pm, with a four hour break for sleep. We left completely exhausted.

The body of the missing man, Alex Gautreaux, was found Sunday morning.

During the search we witnessed friends and family who had hoped for Alex's safe return. This man will be profoundly missed. We send our deep condolences for his loss.

More news: Missing Snowboarder Found Dead | Rescue Effort on Mt. Shasta

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Warning: Counterfeit Gear

Every climber should be aware that Petzl has issued a warning regarding recently discovered Chinese counterfeit versions of their products. The imitation products do not meet the safety and quality requirements of Petzl. Counterfeit products could open or fail at loads much lower loads under normal use.

Petzl states: They have been reproduced in a way that makes them very difficult to identify. The following features have been reproduced nearly identically:

* Design
* Color
* Product markings
* Batch number
* Instructions for use (down to the most minor details)
* Packaging

For more information, please visit Petzl's website.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marin County Search

On Friday Jan 28 BAMRU was involved in a mutual aid delayed call-out for an ongoing search in Marin County. The search was for a 53 year old woman reported missing about 10 days prior.

The search involved more than 75 individuals from multiple agencies, coordinated by Marin County. Shortly after beginning the search, BAMRU located the deceased subject. Search management and law-enforcement was called in, and BAMRU returned to the command post.

The subject was a long-time teacher and community member. We hope that the part we played helped to bring closure to the family and the local community.

More news: Marin IJ | San Francisco Examiner

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Winter Training

BAMRU held its winter training in the Castle Peak area on Jan 22-23. We practised skills for travelling and camping in the winter mountains. Topics included avalanche avoidance, route-finding, search for avalanche victims using beacons and probes. We also practised winter camping and building emergency snow shelters. These skills help to keep our teams safe during winter operations.

Friday, January 7, 2011

BAMRU 2010 Activity Summary

13 Significant SARs (1438.5 hrs)
-- Point Reyes
-- Santa Clara SAR
-- Nevada County
-- Butte County #1
-- WS-100
-- Point Reyes
-- Bunker Hill
-- San Bruno Fire
-- Butte County #2: Loren Harvey
-- Hillsborough: Memorial Park
-- Loma Mar
-- Storm Watch
-- Alpine Meadows

Outreach activities (Highlights):
-- Skye Memorial Service
-- SAREX conference/training presentations
-- Joint Trainings Marin Fire Rescue
-- Stanford University Medical School lecture
-- Hug-a-Tree Lectures
-- San Mateo County Jail ERT

22 Trainings (4351.5 hrs)
-- AIARE I – Avalanche
-- Winter Mountaineering
-- County Storm Watch
-- BASARC Incident Command
-- Mock SAR
-- Trainee Skills Days
-- SAR Basic
-- General SAR Skills
-- Rock Skills
-- SO Vehicle Training
-- Alpine Mountaineering
-- Basic Technical Skills
-- Advanced Technical Skills
-- Medical Skills Refresher
-- Advanced Litter Handling
-- Escape From Alcatraz

32 Meetings (703 hrs)
-- Board of Directors Conference Calls
-- Board of Directors Meetings
-- General Membership Meetings

1 Recertification (519 hrs)
-- Tracking and Search Management

These statistics only cover those hours captured and recorded by the unit secretary, there are many more hours put in by each and every member in the unit that are not captured. Thanks to each and every BAMRU member for your ongoing support and dedication.

Special Thanks to Tom Grossman our Unit Leader for his 3 years of outstanding leadership and to Ethan Frantz our Training Officer for successfully coordinating 22 trainings.

Outstanding work!

Bill Parker
Unit Secretary, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit