Performing an Avalanche Beacon Search

Kodiak Search & Rescue is sponsoring an
Alaska Avalanche School Awareness and Rescue class.

Thursday December 12. 7pm At the Kodiak Refuge Visitors center.

There is no cost, and the presentation is open to the public.

This is a great class for everyone, from the novice to experienced back country traveler.
It is also an opportunity to ask questions and tune up your skills.
Topics covered will include;
* Safe travel skills in avalanche terrain
*Recognition of avalanche terrain
* How snow pack stability, terrain, weather and you as the avalanche trigger contribute to avalanche occurrence.
* Actions to take as a survivor and rescuer.

Each year more experienced people get caught in slides! Why? Enthusiasm ! Simple mistakes! If you have questions about this class or KISAR contact Steve at 539-2299.

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Wilderness Patient Assessment

With our Custom Wilderness First Aid class coming up, this month, it would be good to review the basics of patient assessment.

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KISAR Involved in Akhiok Search

Search ends for missing Akhiok man

Published: November 1, 2013 The Associated Press

KODIAK, Alaska — Volunteers and emergency responders have ended their search for a missing 20-year-old man from Akhiok (AH’-kee-ahk) on Kodiak Island.

Brandon Phillips on Oct. 26 left the village 150 miles southwest of the city of Kodiak on an all-terrain vehicle and said he was going to hike. He was reported missing that night.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters tells the Kodiak Daily Mirror that as many as 30 people searched for Phillips after the Coast Guard conducted weekend searches from the air with an infrared camera.

Searchers found Phillips’ ATV, two backpacks and a kayak.

They also found an oar floating in nearby water.

Troopers say Phillips may have fallen out of the kayak and died of hypothermia.

Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily MirrorImage


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KISAR Adds CERT Role to Duties


At the request of local emergency agencies, KISAR board members voted to register as a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This will be a parallel organization to our main search group. KISAR members will now be available to provide assistance in local disaster response events. This role fits well, as KISAR has been a member of Bayside Fire Department’s “Fire Corps” for the last two years.
More information regarding our CERT team can be see on the DHS provided website.

KISAR members should complete the 80 minute Online CERT course (IS317), in preparation for the in-person class to be held early next year.

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KISAR Participates at 2013 Base Kodiak Welcome Aboard

KISAR Participates at 2013 Base Kodiak Welcome Aboard

KISAR members were on-hand to provide information about prevention and response to lost children incidents. (photo courtesy USCG Public Affairs)

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June 2013 General Meeting

2013-03-21 19.36.49
Our June meeting on Thursday, June 20, will be helicopter training at the USCG Air Station. We will be familiarizing ourselves with the Coast Guard Helicopters for future trainings and missions.
If you have any questions please contact a KISAR board member or email KISAR1986(AT)gmail(dot)com.
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Hike Prepared, Carry the 10 Essentials

In a new study based on surveys of hikers in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, Brown University researchers find that many people hit the trails without essential equipment, often because they don’t think it’s needed for short hikes. Young, inexperienced hikers were most likely to lack essential gear.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Hikers in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest often hit the trail less prepared than they should be, according to a study that gauged readiness by how many of 10 essential items the hikers brought along.

Young and inexperienced hikers were most likely to lack multiple items recommended by the State of New Hampshire’s HikeSafe program, according to a paper in press at the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. Hikers were also less likely to prepare fully if they were planning a short hike, even though those can quickly become dangerous.

HikeSafe’s list of 10 essential items, which are needed on any hike of any duration, are a map, a compass, extra clothes, rain gear, a fire starter, a flashlight, extra food and water, a knife, a first aid kit, and a whistle.

Read the rest of the article, here



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2013 SAR Academy


Do you love hiking and recreating in the backcountry of Kodiak Island? Do you have a desire to come to the aid of local community members in distress?

During the 2012 Christmas search KISAR had over one hundred volunteers, but many of them, while sincere in their desire to help, were untrained and underequipped for the task.

This October KISAR will be hosting a SARTECH II course. This course will give you the basic information needed to function in a non-technical backcountry search. Those who successfully complete this training will receive national certification and immediately qualify for Operational status and respond to KISAR searches.

The current plan for this 40 hour course is; Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday October 14 – 20.

Here’s the material that will be covered:

SARTECH II Examination

The SARTECH II level of certification is the intermediate level for SAR personnel. This level is recommended for any person who functions on SAR missions as field searchers

There are no prerequisites required for a person to challenge the SARTECH II examination.  Certification history does indicate persons who have had formal SAR training and experience on SAR missions successfully pass the examinations more frequently than others do.

The SARTECH II examination consists of a written exam and a practical exam.  The written exam includes one hundred and forty-five (145) questions covering the candidate’s knowledge of search and rescue.  A passing grade is 70 % or above.  Successfully passing the SARTECH II written test assures the candidate to be certified at the SARTECH III level whether the practical exam is passed or not.

Upon passing the written exam, the candidate is then required to successfully complete a six station practical exam

The written exam includes questions from the following topics:

  • NIMS Incident Command System
  • Basic Survival
  • SAR Clothing
  • Improvising
  • Environmental Hazards and First Aid
  • SAR Ready Pack
  • Personal Equipment
  • Travel Skills
  • Land Navigation & Orienteering
  • SAR Resources
  • Search Philosophy
  • Search Tactics
  • Handling Evidence
  • Clue Consciousness
  • Search Operations
  • Tracking
  • Ropes & Rescue Equipment
  • Legal Aspects for the Searcher

  The candidate’s performance of SAR skills is evaluated at six practical exam stations involving:

  • Station #1: Land Navigation: Use of topographic maps and compass.  Candidates complete a course over terrain commonly encountered in the operations area in a specified time frame, not to exceed 600 meters.
  • Station #2: Tracking: Candidates identify and mark a footprint track left by the evaluator and follow the track to its end.
  • Station #3: 24-hour Pack: Candidates demonstrate the ability to possess and pack the required SAR equipment and supplies efficiently.
  • Station #4: Rope Skills: Candidates demonstrate the ability to tie four basic knots and a harness with supplied rope and webbing.
  • Station #5: Route Search: This station entails locating and labeling clues in a given area demonstrating the ability to detect 50% of the clues using a route search tactic.
  • Station #6: Area Search: This station entails locating and labeling clues in a given area demonstrating the ability to detect 50% of the clues using an area search tactic.

If you have wanted to become involved in the local SAR community, and didn’t know how, now is the perfect time. For more information you can email a KISAR member at

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KISAR Partners With Educators

This month two KISAR members provided personal survival training to 5th graders from a local elementary school.

A KISAR member discusses equipment that can make wilderness survival easier.

A KISAR member discusses equipment that can make wilderness survival easier.

Concepts covered included; survival mindset, equipment, shelter and fire building. The students were diligent listeners and much fun was had by the students and teachers alike. The material was a combination of NASAR’s “Hug a Tree” program and personal experience.

A KISAR member inspects a emergency shelter constructed by local 5th graders.

A KISAR member inspects an emergency shelter constructed by local 5th graders.

This activity is a form of preventative search and rescue (PSAR) and directly relates to our mission to, ” provide informational and educational programs and demonstrations to institutions, agencies and community organizations.”

Any other local organizations are encouraged to contact KISAR to see how we can help your members be more safe while recreating in the backcountry.

KISAR member directs school children in the use of orange smoke flares, as the USCG Spar passes nearby.

KISAR member directs school children in the use of orange smoke flares, as the USCG cutter Spar passes nearby.

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KISAR Completes SAR Operation, Subject Hoisted From Cliff, Uninjured.

KISAR members disembark from Helo during recent search.

KISAR members disembark from Helo during recent search.

Jay Barrett/KMXT
A Kodiak Fish and Game employee went missing on a hike near Saltery Cove Monday, prompting a multi-agency search by the Alaska State Troopers, Kodiak Island Search and Rescue and a Coast Guard helicopter.
According to a trooper report, Matthew Dias, age 35 reportedly left a Fish and Game camp in Ugak Bay for a hike around 1 p.m. By 11 that night, Troopers received a call saying the man failed to return to camp.
The Coast Guard launched a helicopter with four KISAR volunteers aboard Tuesday morning at 6:30, and returned to Kodiak after dropping them off.
Dias was spotted atop a bluff around 10 a.m. Tuesday by searchers in a Fish and Game vessel, which recalled the helicopter. Dias was hoisted aboard and returned to Kodiak without injury.

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