Large Scale Search and Rescue Simulation

What a great day to get lost. It was warm and sunny spring day during a Boy Scout Camporee when 4 Scouts got lost. Of course the boys were lost on purpose as part of one of the largest Search and Rescue Merit Badge clinics in the history of the Scouting program.

The Search and Rescue Merit Badge is a relatively new badge. First introduced in 2012, it pulls together many aspects of Scouting skills like: first aid, map reading, command and control, and communications, to teach the kids the skills on how not to get lost and what goes on in an actual search and rescue operation.

The particular search and rescue MB clinic went past lecturing and book learning and actually involved real players from local fire departments, EMS, emergency management, law enforcement, and amateur radio communities to give the kids a realistic educational experience. More than 100 Scouts participated in the event; everyone had a vital role to play, from being the victim, to being on a strike team or part of the Incident Command Post. In fact, the Incident Command System is a vital part of the badge requirements and every Scout participating had to complete the  FEMA ICS-100 training.

Amateur Radio played a key role in the weekend’s simulation as operation controllers, shadowing the players and reporting health and safety information during the simulation. The simulation participants used radio programmed with fireground frequencies, so using the amateur radio bands kept the participants safe while also not divulging any information that would affect the realism of the simulation. Local fire and emergency management were so pleased with the local ARES/RACES group’s handling of the event that it has opened the door for further joint operations.

Samoset-Council-BSA-SAR-thank-youUpdate (May 20, 2013): I received a thank you note from the Scout Executive of the Samoset Council, BSA: “Your participation, professionalism, and dedication contributed greatly to the success of the event.”

The operation started out with the safety briefing, operation objectives, and assignment of roles

The operation started out with the safety briefing, operation objectives, and assignment of roles

Ham Radio ARES/RACES emergency communications members from Portage, Wood and Marathon counties volunteered to help

Ham Radio ARES/RACES emergency communications members from Portage, Wood and Marathon counties volunteered to help

Our four 'lost victims'. Makeup was added for realism and so the Scouts could practice assessment and first aid skills

Our four ‘lost victims’. Makeup was added for realism and so the Scouts could practice assessment and first aid skills

Clues were added for the Scouts to ascertain the victims Place Last Seen and Last Known Place.

Clues were added for the Scouts to ascertain the victims Place Last Seen and Last Known Place.

Groups of Scouts are assigned roles within the Incident Command System.

Groups of Scouts are assigned roles within the Incident Command System.

A strike team finds one of the lost victims.

A strike team finds one of the lost victims.

Assessment is made, and communicated by to the command post. Basic first aid is performed in the field before the victim is transported.

Assessment is made, and communicated by to the command post. Basic first aid is performed in the field before the victim is transported.

 

Victim is loaded onto a stretcher and transported to the command post for triage.

Victim is loaded onto a stretcher and transported to the command post for triage.

 

Incident Command Post, staging and triage areas.

Incident Command Post, staging and triage areas.