Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Body of ICAR

Guest Blogger J. Marc Beverly
MRA Avalanche Alternate Delegate for ICAR
Albuquerque Mountain Rescue
The Human body and the Search and Rescue world have many similarities. As an infant, we are naive about the fact that the human body has many organs and a network of nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and bones that are the large functional groups to make the system work. Likewise, the rescue community is also composed of many entities, each with specific skills, functions, and responsibilities.

This was the first year ever (in a 66-year history) that the International Commission of Alpine Rescue (ICAR) met in the United States. Four days of trainings and meetings were dedicated to continue to build a neural connection among rescue members from around the world. All in attendance, more than three hundred from over 29 countries are on the path to the same end, to become better rescuers by sharing and gaining knowledge.

Sometimes, MRA teams in the USA do not realize how much of a role they play in the greater scheme of things until you go to an event like the ICAR. We sometimes get caught up in traditions of doing things a certain way, and sometimes consistency is good. However, every now and then we should reconsider what we are doing in our rescue regimes, to knock the proverbial “straw man” down and prove ourselves right, or consider another alternative. Cross-pollination helps with evolution and thwarts stagnation.

The high level of professionalism and commitment is evident at ICAR. Certainly, the organization did not start this way, but it is achieving what was sought, and the mission of ICAR to spread education appears to be in full swing.

This was my first time attending ICAR and I personally enjoyed to be able to spend time contemplating difficult questions with those who write our action plans for organized alpine rescue. Certainly, I have done the same within the guiding community, but many international guides from other countries are at ICAR for the same purpose as I, to learn and contribute something to the ongoing metabolism of alpine rescue.

For me, I have gained answers to some of my questions, but ICAR has left me with more focused questions for which I hope to find answers to in the future. I gained insight from every meeting and training. I learned of new probing techniques, gained insight on medical triage for avalanche victims, and learned of new ways of handling high-risk avalanche rescue with helicopter operations. New products from manufacturers were on hand specifically for rescue (that I don’t see at the Outdoor Retailer’s Show), while input was freely given by the end-users on how to improve upon what is currently available.


     Courage - Commitment - Compassion


Friday, April 11, 2014

For the 2nd time the MRA and NASAR 
will come together to present the
2014 National Search & Rescue Conference
June 5-7 ~ Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Pre-Conference Workshops - Monday-Wednesday, June 2-4
Federal & State SAR Coordinator's Meeting (Invitation Only) - Tuesday & Wednesday, June 3-4
Exhibit Hall Open - Wednesday-Friday, June 4-6
Conference Dates - Thursday-Saturday, June 5-7
MRA Business Meeting - Sunday, June 8

Registration includes attendence for the conference / exhibition space and 1 Banquet ticket
Click here for the paper registration form for paying by check or purchase order
Click here for hotel information (Woodcliff Lake Hilton - $102/Night conference rate use code "ANS" when you call)

Preconference courses this year include:
Cave Rescue Operations (in a real cave, no simulations, only the real thing for this conference)
NASAR SAR Fundamentals of Tracking (Learn from the best, Del is back this year)
NASAR Tracking Certification Exam (get that certificate for the next big search)
Endangered & Vulnerable Children and Adults (special skills for special SAR missions)
Urban Search Management (the urban "wilderness" SAR mission with Chris Young)
Motivating Your Working Dog with Michael Ellis (both particpants and observers are welcome)
Twin Tensioned Line Systems (feeling stress, a little tension - double it up with twin tensioning)
AWR-160 Weapons of Mass Destruction Awareness (Homeland Security Ceritifcate Provided) - you must bring a copy of your ICS 100.a certificate and your ICS-700.a certificate. 

We are using EventMobi again this year as the conference management application.  It will be updated regularly, and is already online with some information loaded up.  

Check it out at:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Once again the Mountain Rescue Association and the National Association for Search and Rescue are teaming up for the National Search and Rescue Conference! 

Registration is OPEN and can be found here 

The event will be held at the Woodcliff Lake Hilton  
$102/Night conference rate use code "ANS" when you call

2014 National Search and Rescue Conference
Tentative Schedule of Events

Tuesday / Wednesday
June 3-4 Pre-Conference Workshops (pre-registration required)
June 3-4 0800 to 1700 State SAR Coordinators Workshop
June 4 1500 Opening of Exhibit Hall
June 4 1800 NASAR Board of Directors Meeting
June 4 0900 to 1700 Syrotuck Symposium

June 5 0900–0930 Opening Session
June 5 0930–1200 Workshops
June 5 1130-1300 & 1630-1900 Exhibit Hall Open
June 5 1330–1700 Workshops
June 5 1900-2030 NASAR General Meeting
June 5 2030–2200 Meet the Candidates for NASAR Board of Directors
June 5 1900-2030 MRA Safety Committee Near Miss Case Studies

June 6 0830-1500 Workshops
June 6 1000-1330 Exhibit Hall Open
June 6 1530-1700 Community Meetings (K9, Ground SAR, Water, Tracking, MRA)

June 6 1830-2230 Higgins & Langley Awards Ceremony

June 7 0830-1730 Workshops
June 7 – SAR GAMES
June 7 1630-2230 Awards Banquet & Silent Auction

June 8 National Search and Rescue Memorial Service
June 8 MRA Business Meeting

GEOCACHE – This year we have hidden many geocaches on site. Win prizes, impress your
friends with your GPS skills, let your inner geek go wild… go find’em!
Workshop Descriptions with speaker profiles will be posted on the EventMobi
application site. Go to to get the application and
event details, including directions, hotel, etc.

Preconference June 3-4
• NASAR Tracking Certification Examination (beta)
• NASAR SAR Fundamentals Tracking Course
• Cave Rescue Operations
• Endangered & Vulnerable Children & Adults
• Motivating Your Working Dog (observers welcome but must register)
• Urban Search Management
• Twin Tensioned Line Systems

Mountain Rescue Track
• Developing an Intuitive Understanding of Force Vectors in Rope Systems For Technical
• Snow Anchors
• Ice Anchors
• Proceedings of the 2013 International Commission for Alpine Rescue (ICAR) Congress,
Terrestrial Rescue Commission
• Moving a Litter Through Class 3 Terrain
• Fact or Fiction- Common Rigging Myths
• Pre-Tensioning the Belay Line
• Edge Management and Rappell Backup for Rescue Personnel
• Solo Rope Rescue – Lowering Method
• Use of Skinny Ropes in Rescue
• Pike and Pivot – Jersey Bridle

General Track
• Train as You Fight…
• Increasing Professionalism of Volunteer Programs
• Social Media for Search And Rescue
• Search And Rescue Interface for Ski Patrols
• Survival Basics for the SAR Responder
• Visual Search, Target Orientation, and Probability of Detection
• The Effective Use of Volunteer SAR Personnel in Police Investigations and Civil
• Clue Awareness for Search Teams (CAST) – Train the Trainer
• Best Practices for Funding SAR Operations

Medical Track
• Moulage – Enhancing Realism in Training Exercises
• Wound Care
• What is Autism?
• Walk the Talk: Selective C-Spine Immobilization
• Missing at Risk: Understanding and Managing the Search for the Missing At Risk
Alzheimers and Dementia Search
• Exercise Programming for Mountain Rescue Personnel
• Understanding Missing Persons with Autism
• Practical Drowning Resuscitation

Government, HLS, US&R, and Technology Track
• Debunking SAR Myth vs Reality and Why Now is the Time to Get Prepared
• Back to the Future: Second Generation Distress Beacons
• Updated Tactics for Locating Distress Beacons
• Callout Systems on the Cheap
• ESRI Mapping Update
• Communicate Critical GPS and Digital Mapping SAR Information Wirelessly
• SAR Mission Optimization Using Common Operating Picture Technology
• Response to Chemical Suicide Incidents

Management Track
• Understanding the Human Terrain Search And Rescue Operations
• Interview and Investigation – Techniques for Search And Rescue Responders
• Investigative Strategies During a Missing Person Search
• Family Interactions with Search Authorities During SAR Incidents
• Standard Operating Procedures, Why Do You Need Them? What Do You Have to Have?
• Application of Structured Geospatial Analytical Methods to Wilderness SAR
• SAR Related Line of Duty Deaths in the Known History of the U.S. and Canada
• Advances in SAR / ISRID Grows
• Time Sensitive Mission Planning

Canine Track
Water Track (Swiftwater and Public Safety Diver)
NASAR Education Track

Courage - Commitment - Compassion

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What is the Mountain Rescue Association? 

The Mountain Rescue Association is an organization of teams dedicated to saving lives through rescue and mountain safety education.  We do so by improving the quality, availability, and safety of mountain search and rescue through; 
- Creating a framework for and accrediting member teams 
- Promoting mountain safety education
- Providing a forum for development and exchange of information on mountain search and rescue techniques,  equipment, and safety
- Representing member teams providing mountain search and rescue services to requesting governmental agencies 

The Mountain Rescue Association creates excellence through:

Courage - Commitment - Compassion

     Mountain Rescue Association