Search team adds 13 new members |

Search team adds 13 new members

Staff Reports
Search & Rescue Director of Training Keith Rivinius; Capt. Joe Duffy, Pierre DeForest (and son); Benjamin Johnson; Bianne Price; Shawna Hewson; Alison Wiggins; Brian Foerschler; Sarah Goulart; Travis Bethman; Kirsten Whitt; Capt. Dan Coverley; Brandi Hickman; Sheriff Ron Pierini. Not pictured: Keith Schafer; Susan Schafer; Jenifer Turner.

The ranks of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team increased by 13 members after an April 17 graduation ceremony.

The focus of the 48-hour academy was to become certified as a Nevada wilderness search and rescue technician, which is a nationally recognized credential.

It provided knowledge concerning the general responsibilities, skills, abilities and the equipment needed by persons who are assigned to field operations during a search and rescue mission. The course content includes topics in three major areas: survival/support, search and rescue.

The academy provided classroom and field sessions and students are required to take a 145-question written test and a field-skill evaluation to complete the course.

Team member Dan Hourihan was the instructor for the course and has a long background in search and rescue, sheriff’s spokeswoman Bernadette Smith said.

He retired after 28 years as a ranger with the Alaska Division of Parks, was a training specialist for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and is currently serving on the executive board for the International Commission for Alpine Rescue.

“Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is vital to our community, and the responsibility of the Search and Rescue team falls on the sheriff,” Smith said. “Sheriff Ron Pierini utilizes teams of citizen volunteers to conduct search and rescue missions. The team is a nationally recognized team of search and rescue professionals.”

In the month of December, DCSAR volunteers were involved in four rescue missions, which included hikers in distress, a missing person, a stranded off roader, and the use of the drone for an emergency situation.

There were seven training sessions, two K-9 trainings and four incidents of public education.

Team members were used for 210 hours during that month.

“There is no charge for the search and rescue mission to the involved community member or visitor to the county due to the dedication of the members,” Smith said.

Team members spent 18 hours during the Easter Stateline underground explosion on April 1 for public safety.