Cave & WV SAR Complete MRA ReCert
Friday, May 15, 2009 at 23:36
Jeff Lehman in Cave, MRA, News, West Valley SAR
Last year West Valley SAR and the Cave Team were unable to complete their technical rope re-certification with the Mountain Rescue Association due to a search on Baldy. The make-up exam was scheduled for a few months later, only to be canceled due to the fires in L.A. County. The third time is the charm.

The day started with a coin toss to determine who was the "host team". The evaluators wanted to run the test like a mutual aid mission. That is, the host team had requested resources, the mutual aid team would work alongside under the host teams command structure. West Valley "won" the toss and became the host team. The test was to occur in the Chantry Flat area above Arcadia. Soon after arriving at the helispot, the reporting person appeared, and the scenario began. Aside from the rope work that needed to be completed, the initial challenge involved management of approximately 30 personnel.

The MRA evaluators hailed from Sierra Madre Mountain Rescue, Ventura County SAR, the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, and China Lake SAR. While the teams worked together to accomplish the goal of rescuing the injured, the evaluators required each team to attend to a separate patient so that medical care could be judged for each team. Also, through out the scenario, the evaluators requested that we rotate personnel in such a manner that each team could be evaluated.

Evidently things were going too smoothly because the evaluators continually interjected complications into the scenario. First, our patients required more medical care than originally requested. Then our main line and belay ropes suddenly failed (on separate occasions, fortunately) and required that a knot be placed in each system. Finally, while raising the first patient, a third rescue a short distance from the main effort required additional resources.

In all, things went well. The common training received in TRBC coupled with the county-standardized techniques made it relatively easy to integrate the teams.

Article originally appeared on SBSAR.ORG (
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