By Curtis Jones
April 14, 2012 – Snowman II
As can be seen in the earlier post on Snowman 2 here, the original plan was to have the helicopter rescue team come on scene during the scenario and begin to evacuate victims via helicopter longline. However, due to weather at the site, this was not an option and the exercise was reconfigured to allow the land based response to be run independent of air operations.
Land Based – Multi-Casualty Code Alpha (Avalanche Incident) Drill
The following pictures courtesy NSR members Carolyn Kelly-Smith and Jay Piggot, show the ground based portion of Saturday’s Snowman II exercise. The ground based triage scenario planner, Dr. Kelly-Smith, arranged for numerous and varied injuries to be presented by fake victims to the responding members from NSR, local SAR teams, BC parks, and Seymour Resorts. The number and severity of the injuries required members to use basic first aid and triage skills learned in previous training. This tactical training was further supplemented by full implementation of NSR’s incident command system and the use of our SAR Seymour Station to coordinate personnel and equipment. All safety assessments and notifications were performed as if in a code alpha actual (a real call).
Air Operations – Helicopter External Transport System (HETS)
Even though a safety decision was made to scrap the air operations at the Snowman II site due to a low cloud ceiling, the drill was reconfigured to allow NSR’s HETS members to hone their skills. Instead crews were long-lined to a lower elevation rocky outcropping overlooking the Seymour Valley where NSR regularly conducts training exercises (Photos courtesy Curtis Jones). This site provides a wide variety of terrain with a good approach that makes helicopter training much safer. This was combined with testing of a new search management software application designed by NSR member Bob Manson, and a test of the new GPS tracking system.
The drill started with the insertion of a site safety officer via hover exit to the rocky outcropping. This was followed by the rescue leader and a camera crew from discovery channel being inserted via longline to the site. Then, using two helicopters from Talon Helicopters, NSR HETS members were long-lined in tandem with the aerial rescue platform to the drill site. The goal was for the HETS technicians to successfully touch down, establish themselves, and then take off with a fictional “subject” to return to the Bone Creek landing zone. After all members had completed their long-line evolutions, a smaller crew of techs were extracted from the site using a rescue basket. This of course was followed by a hover exit extraction of the site safety team, a debriefing at Bone Creek, and the inspection/clean-up of the equipment used for the drill.