Learning New Survival Skills

Courtesy photo. Alamedan Randy Lantz, right, poses with Ron Miller, a forensic psychologist and member of Mountain Wave Search and Rescue, while brushing up on the latest outdoor survival techniques in Oregon.

The Mountain Wave Search and Rescue team in Washington State is not your average emergency response team. Using volunteers and no paid responders, the team has logged more than 150 rescues in more than 7,000 hours while covering some 60,000 miles — in just one year. 

In September they invited Alamedan Randy Lantz, lead instructor with the Alameda-based safety training company, Cool Safety, to attend an advanced training program in the shadow of Oregon’s Mount Hood. 

The Mountain Wave team takes its training seriously and all of its volunteers are experts in radio communications, emergency medicine and a host of other specialties. The team uses dozens of canine search teams, horse mounted search groups, all-terrain vehicle teams and ground-borne searchers. Team members also use several highly sophisticated communications vehicles with cell phone pinpointing and terrain mapping capability.

The realism of the training course included nighttime searches, submerged vehicle victim recoveries and a drone demonstration. Realistic training is not without risks. This was demonstrated when one all-terrain vehicle flipped on a 60-degree hillside during nighttime search exercises. Fortunately excellent protective headgear and luck prevented what could have been a serious or fatal injury.

The drone demonstration by Ariel Technology International (ATI) was not your basic toy-off-the-shelf gimmick. The custom-made, carbon-fiber vehicle can fly in 30-knot winds, search a one-acre area and drop emergency supplies to a stranded injured hiker after conducting a “grid search” of rugged terrain. The small version is battery operated and will fly about a 30-minute mission. ATI also makes a larger helicopter gas version that can search for three hours.

Lantz spent two weeks in Oregon and Washington attending SARCON, the Search and Rescue conference in Clackamas County, Oregon, with more than 230 search-and-rescue volunteers and professionals. The group conducted a private tour of the SAM Medical Products company. They also attended advanced specialized training on Mount Hood while spending time with the Mountain Wave team and Dr. Sam Scheinberg. 

The SAM splint is one of the many products that Scheinberg has designed to save lives. As a trauma surgeon returning from Vietnam, Scheinberg saw a need for a portable, flexible splint that could be x-rayed, was inexpensive and could help save life and limb. He toyed with a stick of aluminum gum wrapper to create the design for the SAM Splint. Many life-saving products are produced by the SAM Medical Products Company. 

Lantz also learned about how to handle severe injuries, poisonous plants, snakes and medical information that the family going outdoors needs to know. 

As Cool Safety’s instructor, Lantz teaches for State Wilderness Search & Rescue teams, national medical emergency companies. He is an Emergency Care and Safety Institute instructor and instructor trainer. His EMT and wilderness search and rescue and law enforcement instructor credentials uniquely qualify him to teach local families how to stay safe in all sorts of scenarios.

Lantz hosts a hands-on realistic scenario-based course that offers a full eight hours of unique training that can make a difference when time and resources are limited. The next class is set for Saturday, Feb. 20. 

Contact Lantz at coolsafety@yahoo.com or call 541-3580 for more information.

Contact Sun staff at editor@alamedasun.com.