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