Sixty participants took part in BSAR’s annual training weekend held on 27-28 October 2012 in the Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park near Eldorado in north east Victoria. In stark contrast to last year’s training in the Wombat Forest, we enjoyed marvellous spring weather. Fifteen BWV Clubs were represented, plus a number of BWV individual members. It was especially pleasing to welcome 22 prospective members, many from the Melbourne, Monash and RMIT Universities, on their first BSAR training event.
SKED stretcher carry after line search
The Saturday program involved participation in the Victorian Rogaining Association’s 12 hour rogaine, in the lovely open (mostly) forests north of Eldorado. The BSAR teams achieved some impressive results, and a good standard of navigation and fitness was demonstrated. Many thanks to the VRA for its strong support of BSAR and in facilitating our participation in the rogaine.
On Sunday morning a short program of workshops covering radio, GPS, group leaders and new members induction preceded line searching and stretcher carry exercises.
Thursday 11/10/2012. Bush Search and Rescue was called out for a 10pm departure from Melbourne.
Fri 12/10. 18 BSAR members travelled to Licola to render assistance. The BSAR group returned to Melbourne at 4pm.
Victoria experienced unseasonal cold winter conditions, including snow in alpine regions. A high school group of 11 students and 3 staff was stranded by bad weather and snow while on a bushwalk in the Wellington Plains region of Gippsland. The group was successfully evacuated by the SES and Victoria Police using oversnow transport.
BSAR Team at Licola
Packs and bags are required for use in the field, for travel to and from the search and for storing spare equipment at search base.
See the BSAR Manual for definitive BSAR requirements. Here are some more ideas.
There is some advantage in searching with a pack that has a capacity suited to each day’s task. However, when leaving home for a search, you will not be able to predict the type of load that will be required for the task that you will later be allocated. You will definitely need a spare pack or travel bag anyway, so that you can leave spare gear at base. So bringing a combination of large and small packs is ideal.
The October 2012 edition of Behind The Log, Bush Search and Rescue's regular newsletter, is now published and can be downloaded from [here] (pdf).
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) can be used during an emergency situation (typically in in remote areas) to summon emergency assistance via a radio signal that is picked up by satellites and commercial aircraft.
However, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has reported that many people in Australia are misusing these devices. 248,000 PLBs are registered in Australia. During 2012, 1,700 PLBs have been triggered nationally, with 266 searches resulting, but only 109 events were genuine emergencies.
Some beacons are being triggered in capital cities and urban areas. There have been 400 inadvertant activations and 21 confirmed hoaxes.
Accidental, frivolous or hoax activation of PLBs puts significant inappropriate demand on national and state emergency services and wastes money.
PLB users are reminded that distress beacons should only be used as a last resort when there is a threat of grave and imminent danger. In an emergency, communication should first be attempted using radios, phones, SPOT devices and other communications devices available.
High powered and long lasting torches are essential equipment for searches. We sometimes search during the night in dense scrub and forest, and we occasionally camp overnight on search tasks, so a powerful and long lasting torch is required. A spare set of batteries is essential too.
Torches for use on searches should:
A high quality head torch is very useful while searching and travelling at night and for cooking and camping out as they leave your hands free. A low power mode is useful when using the torch in camp or at search base as it conserves the batteries. A boost mode is useful when more power is needed in the field.
20:50 Sun 19 Aug 2012. Bush Search and Rescue was called out for a search for a missing person in the Blue Range near Rubicon.
The missing man was separated from his companion while in the bush at about 11am on Sunday 19 August.
11 BSAR searchers travelled by bus to the search location on Monday morning. Shortly before arriving at search base the missing man was located safe and well in a gully having spent the night out.
Bush Search and Rescue Search group at Yea on the way home.
A deer hunter was reported missing near Corryong in North East Victoria after failing to return to camp on Friday 3 August 2012. Police and SES searched until 2am on Saturday then resumed searching at dawn.
The missing person found his way out of the bush at 11:25am on Saturday 4 August.
Bush Search and Rescue was not activated for this search.
There is an opportunity for BSAR members to apply for an Emergency Services Foundation (ESF) scholarship.
The Emergency Services Foundation was established following the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983. It operates as a trust to provide immediate support for those who suffer hardship as a result of the death of a family member or injuries sustained in the line of duty.
A gathering was held in Melbourne on Thursday 19 July at the Retreat Hotel in Abbotsford to celebrate the achievements and life of Bill Bewsher.
Many tales and memories were shared of Bill's remarkable contributions to education, the Bushcraft and Mountain Leadership (BMLC) course, Bush Search and Rescue, the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs (now Bushwalking Victoria), Melbourne University Mountaineering Club, his quest for the first ascent of Federation Peak in South West Tasmania, and his leadership and exploration at the Australian Antartic Base.
Bill's achievements have been recognised in part by the naming of an Antartic mountain, a Tasmanian pass and Tasmanian lake after him.