Monday, August 12, 2013
With nine (9) missions completed as of August 3rd this year is shaping up to be a busy year for the team. Along with these missions the Big Sky Search and Rescue (BSSAR) team members have also completed eight (8) training sessions as well as an eight (8) day Wilderness First Responder Course. This is a completely volunteer organization and the team has dedicated a minimum of twenty-five (25) days so far in 2013 to the mission of BSSAR. To ensure that the team is prepared to handle a variety of backcountry emergencies the team trains monthly on a variety of skills. So far this year the team has trained on: Operating within a crime scene; Swift Water Rescue; Mock Lone Lake Rescue with snowmobiles and skiers; Low Angle Rescue in conjunction with the Big Sky Fire Department; GPS training and geocache; Mission and radio protocol. In addition to the monthly training, several of the team completed an eight (8) day course to certify or re-certify as Wilderness First Responders (WFR). The course is conducted by Wilderness Medical Associates International and is designed to give those certified the principals and skills to handle medical emergencies in backcountry settings that may find the patient hours if not days from advanced medical care facilities. The majority of the BSSAR team are certified WFRs. All the training ensures that when BSSAR is called to assist in a rescue that it can be completed safely and effectively. BSSAR is a not-for-profit community organization staffed by a dedicated group of volunteers. When called out through the Gallatin County Dispatch Center (911) we provide our expertise and equipment under the direction of an Incident Commander; usually a Sheriff's Deputy. In Montana the Sheriff's Department is responsible for all backcountry rescues. BSSAR is one part of several Gallatin County SAR Teams. Our primary response area is the Gallatin and Madison Ranges of southwest Montana. We frequently assist other Gallatin and Madison County teams, and they help us. We also assist other agencies and counties when requested.