Volunteers participated in two separate search-and-rescue (SAR) training exercises in July that occurred in Greene County, Tenn., and in Marine, Ill.
Marine Police Chief Chris Singleton said that a recent SAR canine unit held training exercises in the Illinois city, where volunteers from the fire and police departments participated in several drills. Much of the mock searches involved the use of trained dogs, particularly two animals that scouted the entire fire station.
These dogs looked for other members of the team that acted as the missing persons, who hid in certain areas around the training venues. It might seem easy, but the drills made it extra challenging for the canine units by laying down distractions.
One dog, who has not been certified at the time of training, had to remain focused despite encountering a horseshoe tournament along her mission. The canine had to find the hidden member by following a scent trail across a baseball field near the fire station.
Aside from trained canines, a search and rescue UTV can be an efficient resource during emergency cases such as plane crashes. In Greene County, the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) conducted a simulated SAR drill for this type of situation.
The training involved exercises for air crew and mission base, aerial photography and ground search. Search teams on the ground play an important role by providing disaster relief and finding missing individuals, according to Col. Arlinda Bailey, who managed the drill. The CAP has been involved in previous disaster coordination efforts, including the tornado incidents in the area in 2011.
Almost 40 volunteers participated in the event, which provided insights in handling plane crashes especially in mountains, where it can be more difficult to locate the aircraft itself.
With the availability of several equipment resources, SAR teams should be more competent in doing their roles as lives depend on their capabilities.