Search and rescue offers kids’ course |

Search and rescue offers kids’ course

by Sgt. Jim Halsey
Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Unit recently provided a lesson in outdoor survival to students at Carson Valley Middle School.

Approximately 25 students of Martha Betcher’s seventh grade outdoor science class participated in the training.

The training was by Search and Rescue members Rich Alexander, Carol Caman, Anne Harris, Karen Kerley, Ben Miller, Merrilyn Noble and Anne Thomas.

Students learned to avoid becoming lost or separated from others while hiking or camping in the wilderness. They learned to do this through an easily remembered acronym STOP:

• S – Stay put. Take a moment to calm yourself. Staying put is often the best choice.

• T – Think. Think what you can do to be more easily located and found; think also of how you will obtain food, water, and shelter.

• O – Observe. Look around. What resources are available for your use?

• P – Plan. Develop a plan for survival and rescue.

Survival techniques taught to the kids included:

Making themselves more visible by waving a bright piece of clothing or other material to attract the attention of rescuers, or tying smaller pieces of bright-colored clothing or material to branches of nearby trees for easy observation.

Making a large “X” on the ground with branches or stones that can be seen from the air.

Seeking temporary refuge that provides shelter but doesn’t conceal your presence from rescuers.

Students also learned how to properly equip and prepare themselves for outdoor survival before they head out on any hike or camping trip including bringing water and light snacks, whistle, small flashlight, and a folded plastic garbage bag (kept in a pocket) that can be used as temporary protection from the elements in an emergency.

Douglas County Search and Rescue volunteers are available to present their free STOP program to school-age children throughout Douglas County as a public service to help educate children on minimizing their chance of becoming lost in the wilderness and what to do to help search teams find them if the should become lost.

Persons interested in the training should contact DCSAR STOP Coordinator Merrilyn Noble at (775) 782-9930.