- If you are going away: Contact Gin with the dates you are unavailable.
- If you are unable to attend a training: Contact Matt Hassard.
- If you are unable to attend a meeting: Contact Gin or a committee member.
Pager Test Message
Reminder for all those members with pagers. The first of every month a test message is sent out to ensure your pager is operational, if you do not receive this message you should contact Matt.
Contact Russell if there are any changes to your contact details so the callout list is updated. Change of email address also needs to be passed on to Jake for the newsletter.
Taupo SAREX - Gavin Hancoxnew
When I got the call from Roger asking if I would like to attend the Taupo Sarex as a team leader with a team from Tauranga I jumped at the chance. Having just completed the SAR Team Leader course the previous weekend, I thought great, a challenge to put all that knowledge into practice. It would also assist me in completing the large assignment from the post workshop Sarinz book.
I arrived at Greeton Police Station and was introduced to Nick and Gavin, new members from Tauranga LSAR. Roger got the gear ready and we were off to the Backpackers in Turangi to ensure we were fresh for the next day.
Next morning after Roger finished what seemed like his 6th coffee, we got organised and were off by 7.30am.The Sarex was held at Rangipo intake road off the Desert Rd. As soon as we arrived we stood around chatting, it was good to see Graham, Gemma and Lynette. I could tell it wasn’t too early in the morning as Lynette was smiling (not a morning person eh Lynette). We all waited with anticipation for the distinctive and awe inspiring thudding sound of the Iroquois.
After an initial briefing, we were told we had a hele safety briefing as soon as the Air force arrived. Then we were to be allocated our team.
We had round robin type modules to complete before flying out into the field, these were about 20 minutes each to complete.
- Stretcher carry- with wheel and without
- Radio Comms practice
- Satellite phone
- TCA and tracking
- Clue processing, LPB
- Winch practice
- First aid - yeeah free lollies cheers Lynette.
Team 4 members
- Gavin Hancox- Team Leader
- Hakan Svensson (Hogi) - SARINZ assessor
- Nick Hume - Tauranga
- Gavin Massey - Tauranga
- Glen Buckton - Taupo
- Karl Hume - Taupo
After the modules were completed I went over to the Incident Control Point (ICP) to get our tasking and pick up some equipment - TCA kits are a must on Sarexs.
I got the team together for a briefing.
The guys from Taupo were relatively new to LSAR with one guy from Taupo having limited experience in LSAR as in arriving that morning. I was quite surprised when I asked about GPS experience and nobody had any so a quick lesson on how to put grid co-ordinates in and how to use the 60CSX. I knew then that I was going to be a hands on team leader for this Sarex.
The task was to go to a given grid reference from the Landing Zone (LZ) that was to be the LKP. Missing party was 3 youths from a local college.
The fly in was spectacular and I was surprised with how little snow there was.
Nick volunteered to be on Comms his first time and was so efficient he stayed with the radio all weekend. He also did a great job when I questioned our LZ and requested a change to the LZ further south which was granted. This situation can sometimes be difficult when on Comms, questioning the guys or girls at base.
We walked the ridge for a while and dropped into a gully where we found sign straight away, so we were actually tracking before we reached the LKP.
Nick and Gavin did a great job of sign cutting and we soon had a Direction of Travel (DOT). We took an acetate of one of the distinctive prints and moved in the DOT. The kids did a bit of work to try and confuse us by walking down the gully and then back up. We struggled at twilight and looking back we should have taken a break until dark then utilised our torches, which I prefer. A lesson learnt as team leader.
Hogi from Sarinz was great and at times was actually more of a team member than an assessor. The Taupo boys were also into it with sign cutting and before we knew it we were back onto the sign and re-established DOT.
We formed a sound line, which didn’t result in a response, but the kids had been instructed to stay unresponsive for some period of time.
At 7.30pm the lost party was found.
Great job and great team dynamics.
We set up camp and had a feed, chatted for a bit and were in our tents by 9.30pm.I took the radio for the listening watch. I was wondering if they were going to get us up at some ungodly hour for a tasking.
The following morning our 7.00am tasking was to take lost parties back to hele pad and process a camp not far from us, I sent two guys with the LP and we processed a camp next to us. We were to establish how many tents and people there were the night before, and also how many were male/female. At one stage there were 4 of us hovering around a toilet spot (what a way to spend a Sunday morning)
We were pretty much on the mark as to people and tents, so yet another task successfully completed.
The ascent to the hele pad was fantastic. A beautiful clear, warm morning.
We had our debrief lying in the sun in the tussock with Ruapehu and
Ngauruhoe as a stunning backdrop. Life doesn’t get much better than this.
We soon got choppered out, had a feed back at base and another debrief and headed back to Tauranga.
This was my second chance, first was Christchurch, to work with
Tauranga LSAR outside SARINZ courses, and after such a fantastic weekend I am very much looking forward to continuing the strong bond between Hamilton and Tauranga.
Coming home after Sarex’s and SAR ops I always reflect on the day that was and was thinking about when I first joined Hamilton LSAR a few years back and attending the mini sarex, at times the pressure was put on and I think they are invaluable for new members and I do feel that other groups could benefit by running a similar program.