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Article- Man tracking techniques for search and resque

Discussion in 'The Main Board' started by Atlas, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    This is a really good topic for discussion.

    https://prepperswill.com/man-tracking-techniques-useful-search-and-rescue/

    If you are hiking in the woods with friends and family, then one member becomes disoriented and loses the trail, how will you find them?

    Losing a family member or friend could be a very emotional moment, but if you are trained with some basic tracking skills you may able to keep the worst from happening. Being lost is a time sensitive thing, the longer you are out the more likely you will encounter problems. Training can also help keep you from becoming lost, which is an excellent place to start.
     
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  2. twp

    twp Administrator Staff Member

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    1) Have a plan and follow the plan. This gives everyone a starting point if a search becomes necessary.
    2) Know how to leave a marked (unobtrusively) trail.
    3) Comm equipment for everyone. Learn the click codes too, in case stealth is needed.
     
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  3. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    Great thoughts!

    I always leave a note on the white board at home, where I will be and what time I'll be back. Even if I get home first and erase it, at least it's there if needed.
     
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  4. Jerry D Young

    Jerry D Young Active Member

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    Part of the safety packet for every person, especially children, when inexperienced people are with the group going into an unknown area, or even a known area if it is forested, should be not only a photograph of the person showing any easily identifiable feature, but also of their shoe or boot soles. This is fairly easy if they are old enough to be wearing the same hiking shoes many times, but if they are young and they have different ones every trip, it will be easier to use a smartphone to take the pictures on each trip. This also will allow for a current picture of the person, their clothes for the trip or for the day, along with the soles of the boots.

    If the parents or the leader of the group makes a game of trail marking, even fairly young children can be taught to place simple markers as they walk. Now, available things in the forest are great for those with experience in both placing them and reading them. gut that does not apply to untrained. Much better to have something simple, and very bright. It can be small, but does need to be noticeable. And not too expensive. They will be lost from time to time.

    I use brightly colored push pins. They are sharp, so caution must be taught, and the pin is short so they will not stick into everything really easily. There are also regular trail marking pins, but these tend to be pretty subdued colors so much harder to see, though they are light reflective. Not as much fun for the little ones as the brightly colored ones. Each child can have their own color or set of colors. There are extra large push pins for those that have trouble holding them. And even fancy ones that some might prefer. The main thing is to get the children to use them, all the time, if they are going to be going and coming on the same trail.
    https://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?Ntt=jumbo+push+pins&searchSuggestion=true

    And there are the regular trail markers, which can get expensive:
    https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers...ing-Trail-Markers/zgbs/sporting-goods/3413721

    When using whistles, it is better if at least one and preferably all of the searchers also have whistles. Especially if they do not all have radios. They can communicate with each other if need be, but more importantly, if they hear the lost person signal with their whistle, the searcher should respond with their own specific whistle reply. These need to be kept simple. No more than four, perhaps five whistle blast combination. Excited, scared, tired, shivering, too hot, lack of food, and other things can prevent the brain from being able to count very high, especially if the sound is faint.

    Expecting a child to decipher a complex set of whistle blasts is not going to end up well. Expecting me to decipher a complex set of whistle blasts is not going to end up well.

    Two together for yes, four quick together for no. Three, three, three means help. And no more than ten, probably all told, if that many.

    Just as firefighters, the police, military, and others that do searches, there should be a method to indicate each area that has been searched. Duplication of resources is not usually a luxury that searchers can afford. The searches must be thorough, though.

    If anyone close to the person being tracked is on the search team, make sure there is someone with them that can be supportive, and can help calm the person if necessary. As stated in the article, it can be very emotional if there is a victim badly injured, mauled, dead, or just about anything except alive and healthy when found. This is especially true for those close to the person. The last thing anyone will want is for a mother or father to fling themselves off a cliff to get down to their child, or dive into a raging river to get their child out of the water. And it does happen. So an experienced person needs to be with that person, and the person that can help keep them calm.

    Someone has to be in charge. And it should not be the best tracker. The best tracker should let the AIC (agent in charge) what is needed for the search, but he/she should not be the one making sure everything gets done. Neither should the AIC unless there are just a handful of people. The AIC makes sure the people delegated with responsibility are doing what they are supposed to be doing, in the manner they are supposed to be doing it. And she/he must keep an eye out for what the lead tracker wants and needs, as well as monitoring the security chief if there are dangers that might be expected.

    As much as I dislike restrictions on free speech, if possible, when it is appropriate, if there could be some significant problems with rumors getting around, a gag order might need to be enforced. Famous people, important people, lost children, lost adults with dependent young ones close, and several other situations where bad news rumors could cause people pain and suffering need to be controlled at least to the degree that there is a spokesperson to give information, and not every excitable gossip on the search team giving their wild suspicions.

    One aspect of tracking people that are lost and need to be found, is that it is very good back door practice in how not to get tracked if you are in a SERE situation.

    Just my opinion.
     
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  5. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    I really like this suggestion. Thanks for mentioning it.

    One thing that can be deceiving, many times hikers follow a trail that usually is well marked. It is easy to not pay attention when this is the case. A while back my wife and I were on a pretty intense hike up above Tahoe. The trail was well marked for about the first 5 miles and relatively little elevation gain. All of the sudden the trail literally went straight up a cliff. We were almost rock climbing for a considerable distance, and there was little in the way of markings. Once we managed to get to the top of where we thought the trail was we realized we were no longer on the trail. We could see it clearly from where we stood, but there was not a clear way to get there. Our initial thought was to boonie crash over to the point where the trail was, but we decided to stop and eat lunch for a minute.

    After thinking some more while eating a little bell went off in both of our ears, we decided to climb back down the way we came. A short ways back down we noticed a marker we had missed, and then noticed the trail cut off. We walked a while noticing that our path would have been really sketchy had we decided to boonie crash like we originally thought.

    A week later my wife pointed out that hiker had gotten lost and spent the night in the exact same location. Luckily they were ok, but they had tried to boonie crash and then got turned around. They too were an experienced hiker, and luckily they didn't end up too far out before they stopped.

    Since then we have started carrying a GPS on trails, just in case.
     
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  6. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    I have done some search and rescue in actual events, time is the main enemy, and is also why I recommend symmetrical load outs of equipment as much as possible, if a group member or members become separated, one group having all the food and water for example, and no shelter will be a major problem for both groups should a loss or damage to containers etc occur (that piece of info is definitely going into @Jerry D Young challenge giveaway)

    As much as possible the balance of equipment should exist across the entire group.

    Having said that... if someone becomes lost they need to STAY put.

    "Hug a tree" has been a mainstay in SAR for teaching children how to get found. My recommendation is that every person in the group, know to find the tallest tree in their immediate area and stay beneath it. In the even of a lightning storm, a safe distance away.

    Tracking is difficult at times, and it is helpful not only to have a dog, but to stop moving as soon as possible to prevent the tracker walking in circles to find the lost person.

    As much as possible organize your search party to prevent walking and searching the same areas. Walking next to the other search members not further than talking range (not shouting or screaming distance) is a good way to make sure you are adequately covering ground but not missing a person who could be unconscious on the ground.
     
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  7. hypnos

    hypnos Moderator Staff Member

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    Every group member should also consider having standard blazes for marking trees and signifying directions of movement, if however it would be unwise to mark areas in such a way, I would recommend everyone carry personal defense pepper spray containing UV marking dye.

    You will not only be able to smell it if it is fresh, you will also be able to see it with a UV lightsource.
     
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  8. Atlas

    Atlas Administrator Staff Member

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    That is a good tip.

    Stay put is the best tip for someone who is lost.
     
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