Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rescue training

by Larry Wilson
| February 8, 2023 9:00 AM

Big North Fork event this week was the annual North Valley Search and Rescue winter training. The training exercise set up a base camp at the home of Lynn and Bonny Ogle and conducted mock searches for lost cross country skiers, overdue snowmobilers and avalanche recovery. Mixed in were practice medical scenarios including hypothermia, frostbite and broken bones. How to pack an injured person in an ambulance sled pulled by a snowmobile is not a matter of just dumping the victim in a sled and roaring off. Today, electronic gadgets are a big part of any search and they allow better communication than we ever had in the past.

After a great hot lunch prepared by Bonny Ogle and Trish Walsh, with several helpers, the snowmobiles did local exploring and avalanche searches and then gathered at 3 p.m. at the Ogle’s for a fire starting contest with no matches or lighters involved. Flint and steel was the apparent favorite.

The training was organized by local North Forker Marc Heaphy who is the North Valley Training Officer. Preparations included obtaining permission from landowners to use or cross their land, making needed signs, burying peeps at avalanche sites and more.

The twenty or so NVSR members who attended drove over fifty miles one way, mostly in their own vehicles and at their own expense. We should all be thankful for their training and effort on behalf of the North Fork and entire Flathead community.

Of course they are not alone. Both the Landowners Association and Preservation Association contribute hundreds of hours of volunteer services. Likewise the hiking group, volunteers and more.

On a wider view we have volunteer firefighters, even a few volunteer sheriff’s deputies, city councilmen and women, school board members, members of a dozen or more city and county boards, committees and who knows how many more.

Bottom line, we depend heavily on volunteers in our community. Some may volunteer to advance their personal agendas but most volunteer to make our community better. They can and should be criticized on occasion but if you really want to help get involved! Start by voting, writing letters, and attending community events. Join the PTA, run for office. The more a community is involved the stronger it will be. Just remember to disagree without being disagreeable. Even the smartest of us isn’t always right.

What do you think?