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Cave Team and West Valley SAR Complete Snow/Ice MRA Reaccreditation

On March 2nd, the California Region of the MRA came together in June Lake, CA to re-accredit member teams in alpine rescue (snow and ice). This year the event was hosted by Montrose SAR on the slopes of the closed-for-the-season June Lake ski area. West Valley SAR and the Cave Team successfully completed their reaccreditation that included an avalanche beacon search and technical litter evactuation of an injured person.

Each year the Califonia region of the Mountain Rescue Association meets to complete the re-accreditation of its member teams. A fully-accredited MRA member team has completed an accreditation test in each of three disciplines: search and tracking, snow and ice rescue, and technical rope rescue. To maintain accredited status, each team must successfully re-accredit every five years in each of these disciplines. The California Region re-accredits member teams every three years. That is, every year there is an accreditation in one of the disciplines, and this continues in a rotating manner. This allows for events such as those last year where there wasn't enough snow to complete the snow and ice test, but still enables teams to maintain their five year accreditation.

Associate member status is also available. As an associate member, a team must complete and maintain accreditation in at least one discipline. For example, the Cave Team was an associate member in technical rope rescue for nearly a decade before pursuing full accreditation. The only differentiation between associate and full membership is the patch and the ability to vote. I highly recommend that every team pursue accreditation in at least one discipline, as my team greatly improved as part of this process. I think the search management and tracking accreditation is the best first step for most SAR teams.

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