09/08/20 RAT-SAR was paged out Tuesday morning to assist on a search for a hiker who was last heard from on Friday. The hiker’s vehicle was located at the Randolph trailhead in the Bankhead National Forest in Winston County. After dispatching two hasty teams from Randolph trailhead, and one hasty team from the Sipsey trailhead, the hiker was found safe but slightly disoriented. He was walked out to the Sipsey trailhead and transported back to the ICP by vehicle. Agencies responding to this search included Winston County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Ashridge Volunteer Fire Department, and RAT-SAR. Special thanks to Lawrence County EMA for bringing the search teams lunch and water!
RAT-SAR members spent the weekend training a new group of responders in the art of single rope technique. Special thanks to David Walker from Haywood County Search and Rescue for his expertise and help on the class, as well as Bucks Pocket State Park for allowing RAT-SAR to train at their location.
Strong work again by the Lawrence County Alabama Sheriff’s Office Multi-Agency SAR Team. The call went out last night for two hikers who had gotten off trail and lost close to trail 209 along the Sipsey River. Team members from Lawrence County and RAT-SAR responded and setup an Incident Command Post at Randolph THD and planned a nighttime initial response mission with a 4-man team. The subjects were located at approximately 11:30 last night and walked out by the team to the command post. Everyone was out of the woods by 2 AM.
On August 16 RAT-SAR had the first general meeting since the inception of the Covid crisis. While we have still been responding to callouts during the pandemic, our trainings and meetings have suffered. During this meeting we covered upcoming training schedules, debriefed recent missions, went over our initial actions plans, and had the team setup a new portable repeater we plan to use in the backcountry. In total we had 23 SAR personnel who attended this meeting.
RAT-SAR was voted into membership of the Alabama Association of Rescue Squads (AARS) during the 3rd Quarter meeting of AARS on August 15. RAT-SAR looks forward to working, training and serving alongside other member squads.
RAT-SAR co-instructed an Advanced Wilderness Rescue class with search and rescue personnel in North Carolina on July 17-19. The class was hosted by Haywood Community College and involved 3-days of advanced techniques often found in extended rescues in remote mountainous terrain. On the second day, the class responded to a real-world callout involving a hiker who had broken her leg on a trail and needed to be carried out. Strong work by everyone in the class!
RAT-SAR was called out at 4:30 this morning to assist with a search in the Sipsey Wilderness for a family of four. It was a great day working with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team, as well as other teams from across Alabama and Tennessee. The family was found in good condition and assisted out of the wilderness area by SAR personnel. RAT-SAR would like to thank every volunteer who dedicates themselves to helping others. Good job all!
The 2020 RAT-SAR Cave Rescue Exercise consisted of packaging a training mannequin in a Sked in the parking lot of the Stephens Gap Cave Preserve, carrying the “patient” up to the cave, lowering him to the floor of the cave from the lip of the main pit, then hauling the patient up from the floor and completely through the multi-drop. A total of 4 raises were required. All of them were full dual-tension systems using natural anchors. Goal was to the keep the patient as dry as possible through the small waterfall raises and leave no impact on the cave system. A total of 19 rescuers were on this exercise and it took approximately 4 hours start to finish. The rescue technicians were from various agencies in North Carolina as well as members from RAT-SAR.
RAT-SAR was in the woods this weekend with Lawrence County Alabama Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue finishing up NASAR training. Many thanks to Sheriff Max Sanders for putting this team together, as well as Lawrence County Al EMA for the support. From mission planning to boots-on-the-ground, The Lawrence County SAR team is an awesome group of SAR Technicians doing good work in the Bankhead Nation Forest and Sipsey Wilderness.
This weekend’s training had members of RAT-SAR back in North Carolina practicing highlines and 2-rope offsets systems with North Carolina search and rescue team members.