PARISH – Ten students of the Oswego County Search and Rescue Academy recently completed their final field testing and are now participating in wilderness search and rescue operations across the region.
The students completed more than 75 hours of classroom training and field work between February and June.
During their final field tests in Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area, all 10 students were individually evaluated for their skills in map and compass, land navigation, global positioning systems and survival skills as they covered a course more than 1.6-miles in length.
“The SAR Academy trains volunteers to become members of the Oswego County Pioneer and Onondaga County Wilderness Search and Rescue Teams,” said Oswego County SAR Director Aaron Albrecht. “The academy provides a solid background in essential search and rescue skills and ensures that students get the knowledge and ‘hands-on’ experience they need to safely and effectively operate as ground search resources.”
Classes were held at facilities in Oswego and Onondaga counties.
“Although the team’s primary response area is Oswego County, we work closely with the Wilderness Team and actively participate in searches across the state when additional resources are needed,” said Albrecht. “Members have conducted several searches this spring and summer in Oswego and nearby counties, and recently participated in searches in Wayne and Madison counties as well as Oswego.”
Eight of the new graduates will become members of the Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team, and two will become members of the Wilderness Search and Rescue Team in Onondaga County.
The new members of the Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue team are Cheryl Widay, Hannibal; Alexxandria Weber, Oswego; Connie Masuicca, Hannibal; Kevin Clerkin, Parish; Kim Backman, Central Square; Lydia Tryon, Oswego; Robert Schaefer, Oswego; and Ronnie Goodnough, Pulaski.
New members of the Wilderness Team are Aaron Vlasak, Fayetteville; and Anastasia Allwine, Syracuse.
The SAR curriculum provides a thorough introduction to search and rescue techniques including map and compass, global positioning systems, man-tracking, wilderness survival, radio communications, search techniques, cold weather emergencies, crime scene preservation, the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), and a variety of other topics.
The graduates are also certified in NYS DEC Basic Wildlands Searcher, Wilderness First Aid, American Heart Association CPR, and Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist.
The Oswego County Search and Rescue Team is the primary search and rescue resource for Oswego County and works closely with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, the NYS DEC Forest Rangers, NYS Police, and other law enforcement agencies.
The team is an all-volunteer unit, founded in 1971, and is funded through community donations and grants.
In 2017, the team responded to more than 38 calls for service.
For more information, visit http://oswegocountysar.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/OCPSAR/