Solid thread bump. I’ll bite.
The Good: 80 hour advanced first aid course. Ongoing civil search and rescue training including an 80 hour intensive on land navigation, disaster preparedness/response, basic survival/bushcraft/tracking, rope rescues, flat water rescue, radio comms, critical incident stress management etc. Working on “grey man” skills (i.e. removing most of my 5.11-I-like-to-think-I’m-a-tacticool-badass kit from regular wear). Pracicing being alert and scanning a room unobtrusively, without looking like robocop. Moving away from tactical/technical outdoorsy looking kit in favor of robust but more nondescript looking alternatives. Still no social media presence with personal info/pics of any kind.
The Bad: Daily practice in awareness/attention/arousal control disciplines but no new training. Some basic firearms handling/marksmanship training, but only enough for familiarity, not proficiency. Ditto for unarmed/intermediate weapons combatives. Fitness level well above general population due to very physically demanding profession, but stagnant due to inconsistent training. Stay sharp with if/then scenarios, cutting the pie, noting escape routes, potential positions of cover/concealment but again, no new formal training. Accumulated a few sundry pieces of disaster prep kit. Solid conceptual grasp of active shooter dynamics and considerations, but minimal practical training.
The Ugly: Still lacking meaningful bugout/shelter in place kit. First aid supplies on hand, but lacking. Do not own a firearm/ammunition. Do not have established networks/SOP’s nailed down for various worst case scenarios. No autonomous food production capabilities (garden, livestock etc.). Only rudimentary grasp of processing game safely. Lacking secondary escape protocol from 2nd floor apartment (although hang-and-drop would probably get it done). No passports, burner phones or get out of Dodge cash on hand.
LOTS of work to do. Thanks for the reminder.[/quote]
Are you with a GSAR team? I’d like to hear more about your SAR training if you don’t mind(how your training is conducted/broken down, etc).
Yep, I’m GSAR. There are naturally some big differences from one SAR group to another, but here’s my experience.
Everyone does GSAR100, an 80 hour course mandated by the province but delivered by veteran group members. My course is running 1-2 evenings per week for 2-3 hours and every other Saturday for 5-6 hours. After you get through the dry administrative housekeeping sections early on and into the practical stuff, it’s actually pretty interesting. If you’ve got any background in bushcraft/orienteering etc a lot of it will be pretty basic, but it’s still fun IMO.
On an ongoing basis training runs 1-2 evenings and 1-2 Saturdays/month. Evening sessions are usually more classroom oriented while Saturdays are dirt time, usually trying to tie what was covered in the classroom together into practical exercises and/or a full mock search.
Periodically opportunities come up for specialized training sessions (i.e. Light Urban Search And Rescue, Tracking, high angle rope rescue, helocopter rescues etc.) depending on your group and coverage area. These sessions generally run anywhere from 3-5 days and are often pretty cool. There are also opportunities to cross train with other groups/agencies etc, which is always fun.
For a fit person who is used to being out in the weather and moving through bush, none of the training is excessively physically demanding, IME. However it does require a certain seriousness of mind and attention to detail.
Most team members I’ve met are avid hikers/campers and generally not what I would consider your stereotypical emergency services type-A individuals (although there are a number of paramedics in our group). There is also a huge range in ages, with a lot of people closer to what I would consider the higher end of the age range (i.e. 40-60+).
Searches are very much hurry up and wait affairs. A level of patience and good humour are required as it generally seems to take what can feel like an inordinate amount of time to get people broken into teams, assigned search areas and underway. There’s a lot of behind the scenes organization going on, I realize, but it can still be trying at times if you don’t keep your head on straight. Although, if you’re LE this is probably familiar territory for you.
Hope that helps.