Basic to your effectiveness as a Search and Rescue volunteer is the 24-Hour Search Pack.
- Additional Items
Each volunteer must provide their own pack, and is responsible for its development and maintenance -- and ensuring that it is present and ready for every mission. WRSAR considers the 24-hour pack so important that members are required to bring them to all meetings and functions of the team.
One approach is to think of your "24 Hour Pack" as a total package - having 3 levels.
Level 1: The clothing you wear, and basic survival items (i.e. what's in your pockets, and on your belt - like a sheath knife).
Level 2: Basic operational equipment and other survival items. This level would include your radio, map & compass, flashlight(s), snacks, grid ribbon, etc. - things you need and use as you conduct field operations. These items may be carried in a radio harness and a butt pack, a multi-pocketed vest, or a load bearing harness.
Level 3: Your backpack. Here is where your extra clothing, water, food, and other bulky items go. A mid-sized, internal frame pack is probably a good bet for this function.
The contents of your pack is up to you, but should at a minimum include the "Ten Essentials." Additional Items are strongly recommended. Clothing should be considered as part of the package.
Your 24-hour pack must allow you to conduct search operations, and safely spend up to 24-hours in the field. Careful thought should be given to the equipment needed for search effectiveness, balanced with how much weight you are comfortably able to operate with.
The inventory of your 24-hour pack should be dynamic, not static; changing as circumstances (i.e. seasons) change. A process of ongoing evaluation is also important; as your experience grows, the items in your 24-hour pack should be adjusted accordingly.
Keep in mind that the 24-hour pack is just one (very important) element of your over-all "search package." Your training, skills, and, probably most important, your physical and mental readiness, are critical for mission success in whatever your team encounters!
(Back to top - Additional items - Clothing)
(Back to top - Ten Essentials - Clothing)
(Back to top - Ten Essentials - Additional items)
The fall/winter climate of Skamania County and the surrounding areas present a challenge to those venturing out in it - especially search and rescue personnel who must operate in what are often less than ideal conditions.
- Clothing is your first line of defense. It must be durable, comfortable to operate in, and layered for adaptability.
- An uncovered head can radiate one half of your body's heat production at 40° F. Nuff said.
- Polypropylene or similar material makes a good first layer for wicking away perspiration. Often this layer is adequate during active search operations.
- An insulating layer of wool, or synthetic pile or bunting offers warmth even when wet.
- The outer shell must be wind and water resistant. Breathable fabrics are effective, but expensive. Whatever is worn must be able to withstand the abuse found in the underbrush and rocks common to this area.
- Your feet, being the basic means of transportation, deserve considerable attention. Sturdy hiking boots are necessary, as are a couple of layers of socks - including wool. An extra pair of dry socks in your pack may have a dramatic impact on your attitude in wet and cold conditions. Moleskin should be carried by everyone, and applied at the first signs of 'hot spots' which lead to blistering.
- Gaiters are handy in most situations in the woods, by sealing all the brush, dirt, rocks, rain and snow out of your boots.
- Gloves are important for a number of reasons, and consideration should be given to carrying a few different types.
Experience is the best instructor - enjoy!
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