NW Life

Brushing Up For Northwest Search And Rescue Operations

OPB | Oct. 13, 2012 5:15 p.m. | Updated: Oct. 15, 2012 1:17 a.m. | Boring, OR

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Hundreds of people are in Boring this weekend for a regional Search and Rescue conference.

Every year, Northwest SARCon attracts people from several states - not just Oregon and Washington. They’re brushing up on the basics, but also learning new skills. Some are police. Others are volunteers who work with search parties. Deb Cherachanko shined a flashlight on a muddy patch of ground for a workshop on footprint analysis.

“Different light seems to show different characteristics of a footfall,” she said.

This year, Deputy Nate Thompson of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue says there are six different training tracks, like water rescue, canine work, wilderness. And he says technology has become its own track.

“Some of the cell phone tracking and GPS work,” he said, as well as a bit of a shift in radio communications.”

The sky’s the limit. Some speakers are even presenting on drone technology. But Thompson says since the industry is so new, most jurisdictions can’t afford to buy their own drones yet.

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