Jim gives us this report about the Search and Rescue Demonstration that Jane arranged in March. Thanks Jane and Jim.
On March 31st, six ATBF members met Sergeant Vesp at the North Las Vegas Airport. Sergeant Vesp talked to us for some time in the training room, showed us a movie about their operations, and then gave us a tour of the hanger where they had several helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft. Some of the aircraft was in for repair, but others were ready to go at a moment's notice. Sergeant Vesp showed us the helicopters and equipment, and he explained how they perform rescues.
It was interesting to see and hear about how the crew operates behind the scenes and during rescues (they also fly support for SWAT). It was reassuring to realize how quickly and easily they can find and rescue injured hikers and other outdoors people, but Sergeant Vesp made a point of saying that in most cases, an ounce of prevention would go a long ways in making the difference between an epic hike and a disaster.
In particular, Sergeant Vesp suggested the following:
• Let someone know where you are going, where you expect to park, and when you expect to return.
• Bring what you need of the ten essentials, but in particular, always bring a flashlight, a windbreaker, a wool cap, a space blanket, and a fire starter (bic lighter or better).
• If you are lost, stop and think carefully about where you need to go
• Know that pilots with night-vision goggles can see small lights (e.g., the glow of a cell phone) from several miles away.