SAR practices in Mag mountains

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Socorro Search and Rescue sponsored a mock search held March 30 in the foothills of the Magdalena Mountains southwest of Socorro.

Submitted photo: Socorro Search and Rescue meets for a mock search March 30 in the foothills of the Magdalena Mountains.

The training exercise provided SAR responders with experience locating a lost person using tracking and clue-finding skills in typical terrain conditions for this area of New Mexico.

Members of Catron County SAR, Cibola SAR from the Albuquerque area and Socorro SAR attended the exercise. Incident command staff comprised incident commander Chuck Baker of Catron County SAR, and planning section chief Adrian Morris, operations section chief Dan Hoff and logistics section chief Gary Waddell, all of Socorro SAR.

The scenario involved teams called out to search for a hiker reported overdue by his family. An incident base was established in the area where the missing subject was planning to explore. Once the subject’s vehicle was located, parked near the end of an unimproved road, a team was dispatched to comb the area surrounding the vehicle to investigate for clues.

Plotting the location of these clues back at incident base, using the GPS coordinates provided by field teams, enabled the incident command staff to pin down a likely location for search teams to use a technique known as a sound sweep.

Search teams, coordinated with directions from incident base over their radios, blew their whistles in unison and then waited in silence for a response from the subject.

For more information on how to become part of a SAR team, contact:

  • Dan Hoff, Socorro SAR; 303-570-4529 or dhoff@nmt.edu. Visit the Socorro SAR website at http://infohost.nmt.edu/~ssar or attend a meeting. Socorro SAR meets at 8 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month at the Presbyterian Hospital facility next to John Brooks Supermart on California Street.
  • Gene Brown, Catron County SAR; 575-773-4637 or gabredhill@yahoo.com.

Catron County SAR meets at 6 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month at the Pie Town Volunteer Fire Department. Visit the Catron County SAR website at www.catroncountysar.org.