East Cape Hamnet/MCSA/Airforce Rescue Exercise

The Air Force helicopters used during the Search and Rescue exercise last year

The Air Force helicopters used during the Search and Rescue exercise last year

Following on from the helicopter training this time last year, Hamnet Eastern Cape have been asked to assist once again.

This will be the second time the exercise is being held and will once again take the form of a mountain rescue exercise in the Groendal wilderness area just outside Port Elizabeth.

Hamnet will be providing portable repeaters and radio comms training to the mountain club rescue sticks.  As such, each radio operator will be a fundamental member of the rescue party.  Fortunately, one way or another, several of our Hamnet members are quite at home in the mountains.

The exercise will take place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 November 2016.  Contact Andrew Gray for more details.

A JOC will be setup and hamnet members will accompany MCSA members on various tactical exercises.  Air support from the Airforce will add excitement.

Currently on the list to assist are: Andrew Gray ZS2G, Gert ZS2GS, Colin ZR2CRS and Dave ZS2DH.  We will be camping over in the wilderness area on Saturday night.

Hamnet members to please bring their own equipment (including camp gear to overnight) and please take note of the safety equipment required: Safety glasses, ear plugs, a harness and a helmet.

WSAR Comms & Nav exercise & Unresponsive Patient Rescue

On the 15 Oct 2016 members of the various WSAR affiliated groups attended a communication and navigation training exercise in the Helderberg region (Somerset West). This exercise was arranged and managed by Delta Search & Rescue in association with EMS (Winelands).

The exercise was controlled from the Metro 4 incident command vehicle (bus), and manned by Delta Search & Rescue, EMS personnel as well as by Matt (ZS1MTF) & Phil (ZS1VCC). Ground teams comprised 4×4 operators and on-foot rescuers (incl. K9s). Basic instructions and maps were provided to the ground teams at a briefing, but each team was purposefully not given a full set of instructions for their tasks. This necessitated each team to check in with Control and to be given precise instructions and coordinates for selected tasks over the radio network. This was to simulate a real search & rescue with multiple field teams over a wide area, and to assess the effectiveness of communications and the passing of critical messages in this environment.

During the later stages of the training exercise, Metro 4 received a real rescue callout (in the Helderberg region) from Metro Control. An elderly patient, whom was hiking with a group, was unresponsive and assistance was requested. All teams on training were asked to standby while the incident commander and his team assessed the situation and set in motion the rescue procedure. Some of the nearby training teams were asked to respond whist an ILS medic and Skymed was dispatched. The patient was assessed by the ILS medic and his status was unfortunately “blue” (suspected heart attack). Skymed 1 was used to extract the patient and transported him to an landing zone near Metro 4 (in the Helderberg Nature Reserve). The various necessary services were dispatched to receive the patient upon Skymed’s arrival. A few members of the WSAR training exercise, which had assisted in the rescue, were tasked with accompanying the remainder of the hiking group off the mountain and down to Metro 4.

 

The training exercise was concluded shortly after the rescue, and it was considered a successful event. Many salient points were raised and much was learned from the exercise. The exercise was saddened by the unfortunate outcome of the rescue; especially as it happened in such close proximity to the training event, and that there was little our teams could do to change the outcome.

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