2015 MRA Re-Accreditation

To be a fully accredited member of the Mountain Rescue Association a search and rescue team must pass a test in each of three disciplines: Technical rope rescue, snow and ice rescue, and wilderness search and tracking management that includes an ELT search. To maintain accreditation, each team must pass a re-accreditation test every five years. The California Region of the MRA has chosen to follow a re-accreditation cycle of every three years, so each year California teams test in one of the three disciplines. This year was technical rope rescue, and it was hosted by Sierra Madre Search and Rescue in Joshua Tree National Park. Next year it will be snow and ice, and Inyo County SAR is hosting.

In San Bernardino County there are two fully-accredited SAR teams: West Valley SAR and the Cave Rescue Team. There are two associate member teams who are progressing toward full accreditation. Wrightwood SAR has completed the search and tracking accreditation, and San Bernardino Mountain is preparing for their technical rope rescue accreditation.

My team improved dramatically during our quest toward full MRA accreditation. We firmed up our leadership, honed a few new skills, and became a more effective resource for our region. I highly recommend accepting the challenge. It will be difficult, and time consuming, but you will be better for it. Broadening your SAR involvement with teams throughout the state and country is an inspiring endeavor. You learn that many teams struggle with the same issues, and may have helpful solutions. It is an extrememly helpful network. Also, if you think you are too small, keep in mind that we did it with a roster smaller than 15.


Director's Dialogue December 2015

The new Board of the SAR Council was voted on and named at the last meeting that was held on November 19th. Sheriff’s appointee Frank Kams from West Valley SAR will be our new Council Director starting on January 1, 2015. I wish Frank the best of luck and success and I know myself and all of you will support his efforts.
Wes Podboy, our BSAR Headmaster was elected as the new Assistant Director and Diana Poe from Rim SAR was elect to another term as Treasurer. Joining them, also from Rim SAR, will be Robert Turner as Secretary. He as served the last 2 years as our Bullet Points Chairman and will be a great addition to the team. The last position, Member at Large, will be automatically filled by the outgoing Director… which just happens to be Dave Nicolet from Morongo Basin SAR.
This will be my last Directors Dialogue that I will be sending out, so I would like to thank all of you for your continued support over the last 8 years. Its been fun, productive and an honor to have served in this capacity.
I would like to thank Frank, Diana and Wes for being board members during my terms. Also, to the other members who have served during this time. Ron Pesch, 2 years as Treasurer and 2 years as Secretary. Rich Dexter, 2 years as Assistant Director and Mike Ward as the Member at Large for 6 and a half years. Also serving on the board were Donna Newlin, 2 years as secretary and Christine Stuehrman for the same period of time in that position as well.

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Basic Mountaineering Course is Nov 22-23

The Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) is right around the corner. If you want to take this course, then please contact Volunteer Forces at  909-387-0641 to sign up. This course gives you the skills to safely operate in many alpine environments involving snow and ice. Winter can be a busy SAR season, and the county needs qualified searchers.

When: Sat, Nov 22-23
Where: SB Mountain SAR Shack
Sign up by calling  VFU at 909-387-0641 or emailing BJ Whiteside


BMC Looking for Instructors

We are looking for prospective instructors for the Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC). To apply, you must be currently certified in BMC and have a strong winter outdoor resume. You will be doing presentations in Mountain Travel and Avalanche on the lecture weekend which precedes Thanksgiving. In addition you will participate in the field session which most likely will be in January or February. Please send email indicating interest to: Sonny Lawrence via his email.


Apple Valley Sheriff's Posse Cattle Drive


Director's Dialogue September 2014

It has been busy since my last Directors Dialogue. We had the large countywide callout to Needles and mutual aid call outs to Mt. Whitney and San Diego County. The Annual Training Facility clean up was held, the first BSAR class from Heart Bar graduated and the Camp No Limits project in Big Bear (Chairman Dennis McWhinney of the Big Bear Posse) was conducted for our amputee kids. The AMET program is up and running thanks to Dr. Debbie Bervel and Marie Podboy and the new SAR Standards had their annual review by our SAR Standards Committee.

To top all of this off, we had the very long lasting search in 29 Palms that started in July. For days and weeks of braving the heat and flash floods our SAR folks searched for our missing subject. Finally after numerous callouts our subject was found. It was a huge success for the department and showed the dedication of our SAR Volunteers to complete the tasks put before them. The ICS Team was at its best considering some very difficult conditions and my hat goes off to those members of that team. I am still amazed by the teamwork and dedication of our SAR Volunteers when it comes to finding our lost subjects in San Bernardino County.

The Sheriff, John McMahon, to show his appreciation for all of your hard work with this callout has scheduled a SAR Appreciation Picnic that is to be held tomorrow… Sept 13th. You have been notified by your Unit Commanders and Coordinators and have received flyers from Volunteer Forces. We are now hoping for a tremendous turn out by our SAR members and their families. The Department, Volunteer Forces and the SAR Council Board of Directors are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at Covington Park in Morongo Valley.
On a personal note, I would like to thank all of our Unit Commanders for their quick responses to a number of events that we are having this month. Headcounts were imperative for the 29 Palms Debrief, the Sheriffs Picnic and for the upcoming SAR Council Meeting. Each Commander supplied that information in a very timely manner and it was deeply appreciated. Thank you!


SHERIFF’S SAR APPRECIATION PICNIC: As mentioned above, this event hosted by Sheriff McMahon, will be tomorrow. Activities will start at 10 a.m. and food and drinks will be provided to all who attend. Hope to see you all there.

SAR COUNCIL MEETING: The next meeting will be on September 17th at Headquarters. The meeting will be called to order at 7 p.m. Please plan on attending and sending at least two members from your unit…..if not more. Please attend. The Sheriff and the entire Executive Staff will be attending this meeting. Volunteer Forces, and the SAR Council would appreciate a good turnout by your SAR Members. Refreshments will be provided.

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Cave Team and Canyoneers Clean Local Canyon

The Cave and Technical Rescue Team, in conjunction with the Coalition of American Canyoneers, Altadena Mountain Rescue Team, and the Angeles National Forest performed a canyon cleanup event on August 23. More than 60 volunteers from as far away as Arizona, picked up trash and cleaned graffiti from the canyon walls. Using hammers and chisels, the graffiti was painstakingly chipped from the rock surface. Afterwards, the rock was painted with a thin coating of mud, and a dusting of fine sand from the nearby stream bed using a technique that has proven successful in other outdoor areas. In this way, the tagger's "canvas" was made less attractive, hopefully decreasing the graffiti in the future. Since the mud will last only a couple years, the team will be at it again to help preserve this jewel of the San Gabriels.

Victor Valley Station and the History of Hug-A-Tree

Beginning in 1982 members of San Bernardino County SAR began to offer Hug-A-Tree presentations to local scout and church organizations. From early 1992 to 2005 the team did approximately 100 presentations for over 90,000 kids. This was done by attending school programs at assemblies and local church and scout units. These programs involved hundreds of kids at each assembly with up to four assemblies in the day. This was not the best way to get the information across due to the large audiences. It was sort of like herding cats or chickens.

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Mounted Search and Rescue Training

The MSAR committee is proud to announce the 2014 All County Posse Mounted Training to be held on August 16, 2014, from 0800 to 1600 Hours at the Heart-Bar Sheriff’s training facility located on Hwy 38 in Heart-Bar.

Sign in starts at 0800 and breakfast will be provided by Sheriff’s culinary. Classroom training will begin at 0900 covering SAR related topics. Lunch will be provided by Sheriff’s culinary at 1130. A mounted evidence search will follow lunch. This training should conclude by 1600. Four very nice prizes will be awarded to the participants who collect the most valuable evidence.

There will be a trail ride following the training. A fireside debriefing will follow the trail ride. Camping is available Friday through Sunday. The camp will have water, but please be prepared with water for your horses

This training is free for all certified Sheriff MSAR personnel. Please support this valuable training with your participation. Many hours of pre-planning have been spent to guarantee an educational and fun exercise. We need a head count ASAP so please send your participant roster to Hap Hatch.


Bear Valley SAR Fundraiser