On Saturday (8/15), rescuers from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, the Queen Creek Mounted Sheriff’s Posse from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, and Arizona Department of Public Safety participated in an ASARCA SAR II Wilderness Survival field training. Instructor Jeremiah Aviel, from Primitive Pursuits, provided a hands on class tailored to the wilderness survival elements rescuers may encounter during search and rescue operations. Rescuers carry a minimum set of gear in a 24-hour-pack (food, water, supplies, first aid, light, etc) that they may need in the event they are inserted into the wilderness area and not able to return to the Command Post at the end of their assigned tasks – such as a helicopter brought them into the search area, but becomes unavailable for some time to pick them up.
The wilderness survival field training enhanced the rescuers skills on top of their equipment and focused on the basic elements of survival based on the rules of three (3 seconds to form attitude, 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, 3 weeks without food). While many people are familiar with most of these rules of three, the “3 seconds to form an attitude” led to an interesting discussion. It comes down to whether or not – when faced in a situation to survive – do you have the will to live? The answer to that question has a direct result on one’s ability to survive and manage the rest of the rules of three.
Instruction on shelters and fire starting were also good topics of discussion, particularly with the varying types of wilderness terrain encountered Mohave County and Arizona. A short exercise on building shelters and preparing fires using only equipment carried in their 24-hour-packs and the surrounding area led to a more realistic appreciation for much of the equipment carried by the rescuers. Great job by Everyone who attended!