Oswego County Search and Rescue Team Announces 2020 Training Academy

The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team holds monthly training sessions to practice search and rescue skills. In October the team practiced tracking, backwoods patient evaluation, and transport training at Great Bear Springs Recreation Area in Volney. The US Border Patrol taught man-tracking techniques. Members of the Volney Fire Department also participated. (Photo by Dick Drosse, Friends of Great Bear Springs Recreation Area.)

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue (SAR) Team will conduct its fifth training academy in late winter and spring of 2020. Classes will start at the end of February and end in early June. The academy will be held at various locations in Oswego and Onondaga counties.

Classes will be held on Wednesday nights and one or two weekend days a month. The curriculum will provide a thorough introduction to Search and Rescue techniques and meets the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) minimum requirements for search and rescue training. The academy will be held in conjunction with the Onondaga County Wilderness SAR Team.

Those interested are encouraged to attend an informational meeting to learn more about the training academy Wednesday, Dec. 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Brewerton Fire Department, 9625 Brewerton Road. Members of the Oswego County Pioneer and the Onondaga County Wilderness Search and Rescue Teams will be on hand to talk about the academy and discuss what is involved in being a member of a search and rescue team.

“The training academy is open to all interested individuals, regardless of where they reside, and is offered at $100 per student to cover the cost of student manuals and supplies,” said Aaron Albrecht, Team Coordinator of the Oswego County Pioneer SAR Team. “Applicants do not need to live in Oswego County. Students should be in good health, be at least 18 years of age, and capable of passing a moderate physical fitness test. Graduates of the academy who are accepted onto a local SAR team may be eligible to have their course fee reimbursed.”

The SAR Academy will cover topics such as map and compass, global positioning systems, man-tracking, wilderness survival, radio communications, search techniques, cold weather emergencies, crime scene preservation, the National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), and a variety of other topics.

Class size is limited to 20 students.

Individuals who complete the academy will be certified as a NYS DEC Basic Wildlands Searcher, certified in Wilderness First Aid, American Heart Association CPR, certified as a Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialist, and will have received all of the necessary training and skill practice to certify as a NYS DEC ASTM Level I Searcher, once they acquire actual SAR experience. Students are expected to attend all classes, complete all assignments, and pass all written and practical testing.

The Oswego County Pioneer Search and Rescue Team is an all-volunteer unit, founded in 1971, and funded through community donations and grants. The team is the primary Search and Rescue resource for Oswego County and works closely with the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department, NYS DEC Forest Rangers, NYS Police, and other law enforcement agencies. The team also receives funding from the Oswego County Legislature.

“As of early November, our team has responded to 35 calls for service,” said Albrecht. “We have been activated for 19 search incidents involving people from as young as two months to 85 years old. The team is dispatched through the county’s 9-1-1 system and is recognized as a public safety agency. Although the team’s primary response area is Oswego County, we actively participate in searches across the state when additional resources are needed.”

In 2018, the team responded to 43 calls for service. More information can be found at the team’s web site at http://www.oswegocountysar.com/.

Those interested in attending the academy should obtain an application at the team’s web site.  Completed applications, including references and a check for $100, should be mailed starting in December to: Oswego County Search and Rescue Team, PO Box 229, Parish, NY 13131-0229. Applications must be received no later than Jan. 31, 2020.

All applicants will be contacted and interviewed prior to selection to the academy. As soon as the class selection is finalized, applicants will be contacted. Individuals who are not accepted into the class will have their money refunded. 

For more information, or to contact the team, visit the team’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OCPSAR.

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