Volunteers and Sheriff’s Coordinators of Inyo County Search and Rescue participated in a “water rescue” training session last week at Klondike Lake.
The team conducts monthly training sessions on all aspects of search and rescue and annual water and river rescue training is held during the summer months. The team has had a number of new volunteer members join recently and this was the first opportunity for many to get hands-on training with the Inyo SAR team’s Zodiak water rescue boat.
All volunteers were given instruction on the safe operation of the Zodiak and water rescue gear and each member took a turn in practicing starts, stops, driving and turning. One crew attempted to flip the boat in order to practice righting it, but the inherent stability of the craft did not allow it to capsize leaving the team feeling confident in their rescue equipment.
In addition to the on-the-water training, the Army National Guard landed a Blackhawk helicopter in the adjacent field to introduce the crew and demonstrate the onboard rescue gear.
The Blackhawk crew demonstrated a water hoisting rescue by lowering a diver in the lake and releasing him to act as ‘victim’. The helicopter circled the lake and returned to lower the hoist and raise the diver safely back into the chopper.
The crew of the Blackhawk also spoke about the benefits they have had from working with mountain search and rescue teams, which has given them an advantage on military missions in conflicts such as inAfghanistan. The knowledge and experience gained on high altitude rescue in remote mountainous terrain has renewed interest from the Armed Forces in working with mountain SAR teams.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Posse Search and Rescue team is an all volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need in the Eastern Sierra.