Monday, 15 January 2018 17:30

Search & rescue crews change tactics with the seasons Featured

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STATEWIDE - Search and rescue teams across the state are experts when it comes to navigating the wilderness, especially when a life is at stake.

But even these crews face challenges during the winter and need to prepare for the cold.

"Always prepare for the worst," said Kris MacCabe, a district game warden.

Search and rescue teams take extra precautions during the winter months.

"If you send searchers out and they're not prepared, you're going to have more casualties than you went out there to find," said Dan Warner, a member of D.E.E.M.I.'s search and rescue team.

D.E.E.M.I. crews fill their Humvees with extra cold weather gear for victims and themselves.

"We throw in some sleeping bags for our searchers, so at least our searchers are always taken care of no matter what if we're stuck somewhere or break down," Warner said.

They also change their search tactics.

"We'll throw in the infrared which is the night vision camera, because a lot of times you can't pick up heat signal in the snow, especially if they're hypothermic or their body temperature is too cold," Warner said.

Maine state wardens need to adjust their approach as well.

"In the winter time it's difficult for us to use our canines, it's difficult for our dogs to get in there," said MacCabe. "We've had lost skiers in the past off the back side of ski slopes and we can't get our dogs in there."

To help them combat the elements, search and rescue teams ask that you be prepared when doing an outdoor activity.

"The biggest thing for us, this time of year, people can go out and make a plan and stick to that plan, leave a message at home saying where they're gonna go," said MacCabe. "That gives us a head start in getting to a point where we know where you were last."

Pack extra clothes, socks, and warm gear wherever you go.

"Even going out for a day trip in your vehicle, it's important to have that stuff," MacCabe said.

"Throw in a bunch of extra wool blankets, never have enough of those," Warner said.

They say these simple steps can help prevent tragedy.

"We want people to go out enjoy the outdoors, we want them to ice fish and go snowmobiling, but we want them to be safe," said MacCabe. "That is our whole mission, to have them enjoy it and be safe at the same time."

Kayla Fish

Anchor/Reporter
kfish@wvii.com

Kayla joined the ABC 7 & FOX 22 news team in May of 2017. She got into journalism because she loves talking with people, and she's incredibly grateful to share the stories of Mainers throughout the region.

She got her start in broadcasting way back in middle school as a member of a morning announcements TV broadcast club, and her love for the news industry took off from there.

Kayla graduated from Penn State University in 2017 with degrees in broadcast journalism and Spanish. During her time as a student at Penn State, Kayla was an executive producer and reporter for the "Centre County Report", an Emmy award-winning student-run newscast. She studied abroad in Ronda, Spain and traveled to Panama with an international reporting class. Kayla kept busy in college, spending four years working as a student manager in the dining hall.

Kayla grew up in the village of Shawnee-on-Delaware, located in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, so transitioning into life in Vacationland was a piece of cake! A self-described winter fanatic, she loves all things snow related, including hitting the slopes on her snowboard. She also likes hiking, kayaking or doing anything outdoors. She loves meeting new people so if you see her around, be sure to stop and say hi!