PayTracer, Laura W. and her husband live our value of community focus. As active members of the Volunteer Search and Rescue Team (VSAR) for Kootenai County they learn and train on survival teams so that, "other's may live." PayTrace recognizes PayTracers who are passionate about serving our community. Thank you, Laura W. for your dedication and service to saving lives.
The last 3-day training included making shelters and a fire using only a metal match and Vaseline-soaked cotton balls.
Laura shares her awesome experience:
VSAR's purpose is to go out into the wilderness and urban settings to search for lost people. People range from the very young toddler to the elderly, sometimes with disabilities involved. Callouts for these searches occur in ANY weather and at ANY time of day/night. We do this as a community service "So that other's may live" (our motto). Since you can't just send people out into the woods to look for other lost people and risk the searchers becoming lost, a lot of training in basic skills as well as advanced skills and specialties is done all year long.
Basic VSAR training included a 3 month "academy" training for my husband and I when we first started and yearly "academy" refreshers that usually take 2-3 days. This year we also actually spent the night in the woods with the shelters we created. Additional trainings are scheduled monthly, on top of any searches we join. We learn how not only to search effectively for clues and the person, but how to communicate appropriately in a high-risk, public environment; how to do first aid and CPR in a wilderness setting; how to survive and help those we find survive in all weather situations; how to approach people with different types of disabilities; and how to deal with the unfortunate searches that end in loss.
If you want to expand your skills and qualifications, you can do even more training for ATV/UTV searching, snowmobile searching, man tracking, K-9 (this involves you training your dog as well), communications, family liaison, search management, and other fun skills. Needless to say, we all put a lot of volunteer hours into this community service on top of our regular jobs and lives.