Webinar Training

The MRA Webinar Training Committee provides monthly webinar trainings to MRA members on a wide variety of useful topics to support successful operation of volunteer SAR teams. These trainings are sponsored by PMI and archived here for your convenience.

MRA Webinar Series – Enhancing Backcountry Radio Communications: Inexpensive Equipment and Simple Technique Changes

Enhancing Backcountry Radio Communications – Going from @#%$* to 5×5. Many teams operate in mountainous, backcountry terrain where the “peak to valley” altitude differential can be 4000 feet, and ALL teams operate in communications challenging environments. Learn to do all you can to enhance member to member and team to IC communications. This is a succinct look at inexpensive equipment and simple technique changes that will enhance your team’s radio communications. We’ll look at $20 frequency specific, tuned antennas that outperform “do all” factory antennas. Can a 4 oz. $25 Roll-Up, Packable antenna really DOUBLE output for establishing Command in the field? What is a Tiger Tail, and how you can add it to each team member’s hand held radio. How to establish a “field based” portable radio communication repeater station; Under 10 lbs, under $250.

Original Webinar Date:  Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

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MRA Webinar Series – 2016 Winter Business Meeting Review

The MRA just finished up another successful winter business meeting in Salt Lake City, and in case you weren’t able to attend, the national officers will provide an overview of major meeting points and current projects. This year, largely thanks to Rocky Henderson’s work with our many incredible sponsors, the MRA has committed tens of thousands of dollars to projects that may directly benefit each one of you. Tune in to find out how to get your piece of the pie and how you can contribute as our organization moves forward with our mission to improve SAR through networking and sharing valuable information. Presenters include: Dave Clarke, MRA President Bryan Enberg, MRA Vice President Skeet Glatterer, MRA Member-at-Large Art Fortini, MRA Member-at-Large

Original Webinar Date:  Tuesday, Feburary 16th, 2016

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The MRA Mapping Hangout


The Mountain Rescue Association Mapping Platform

In this virtual training, participants will learn hands-on skills and discover geospatial resources that support their mission. This session is designed to help MRA Members and their partners:

  • Review the 2015 Mission Data Collection Results
  • Learn how to use the 2015 Mission Data Collection Portal
  • Explore the use of GIS and US National Grid in Search & Rescue (SAR) operation workflows such as assignment tasking, incident spatial analysis, and map production
  • Learn about the suite of existing USNG and GIS decision support tools already available to support SAR operations

The audience for this training is primarily SAR professionals. It is also beneficial for GIS professionals and staff who support SAR operations.

The presenters are Monty Bell, Mountain Rescue Association and Paul Doherty, National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation.

Original Webinar Date:  Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

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MRA Webinar Series – Sharing Search and Rescue Stories

Author and university writing instructor Shaun Roundy discusses WHY to tell SAR stories (PSAR, inside training, public service, recruitment, fundraising, etc.), why NOT to, and teaches a dozen crucial writing tips to help your stories come alive and turn out top notch.

Shaun Roundy has been a member of Utah County SAR for 16 years, taught university writing for 15, and has published 8 books, including 75 Search and Rescue Stories: an insider’s view of survival, death, and volunteer heroes who tip the balance when things fall apart (available at bit.ly/rescuestories) and The Art & Craft of Writing: the ultimate step-by-step guidebook to the writing process and effective composition (bit.ly/writingguide). He currently chairs the MRA Intermountain Region and Webinar Training Committee.

Original Webinar Date:  Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

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What is Cave Rescue and Who is the NCRC?

Join Tim as he begins this webinar with a brief overview of a recent technical cave rescue. This will set the stage to explain who is the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) and their role in cave rescue.

Tim White is the Southeast Regional Coordinator for the NCRC. He is an active member of Chattanooga/Hamilton County (TN) Rescue Service – Cave, Cliff and Technical Team and a founding member and first President of the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. He is also the Senior Technical Manager for Over the Edge, Inc.

Original Webinar Date:  Tuesday, September 29th, 2015


Terrain Based Probability in SAR

Even though terrain can be important in determining subject behavior, its impact is often misunderstood or subject to personal intuition. Recent research has helped to quantify its effects and provide an evidence-based standard for assigning POA to streams, ridges and other terrain features. Learn about these new findings, as well as the implications for some commonly accepted search management practices.

Matt Jacobs is a W-EMT with the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue. A software engineer by day, he is the creator of caltopo.com and sartopo.com

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, August 18th, 2015


Anchors Aweigh: Load Sharing Anchor Options

Anchors are a fundamental component of nearly every rope rescue system. But what options are available to the rescuer who is confronted with sub-optimal anchors or a fall line that just doesn’t jibe with a single anchor point? Load sharing anchors to the rescue! This presentation covers important anchor building considerations like knot selection, load distributing versus load sharing anchors, man-made versus natural anchors and multi-point anchor angle forces.

Tom Wood is a 17 year veteran of the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen, Colorado and has a passion for surrounding himself with acronyms. He has served as the ART Field Director since 2013. The MRA’s alternate delegate to ICAR, Tom is a Level One NCRC (National Commission for Cave Rescue) trained cave rescuer. His day job is that of TM (Training Manager) for PMI’s (Pigeon Mountain Industries) VRS (Vertical Rescue Solutions). He is a SPRAT (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians) EC (Evaluations Committee) member and Level 3 Supervisor, sits on the NATE (National Association of Tower Erectors) Safety and Education Committee and participates in the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) F-32 SAR Committee. Tom is a Kent State graduate with a degree in photojournalism, has served in the USMCR as a Combat Photographer and in his meager spare time, he works as a freelance photographer, writer and author. A husband and father of three, Tom is an active ice climber and caver.

Original Webinar Date: Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


Submersion Injuries: Drowning and Near Drowning

Drowning remains a leading cause of death among children worldwide. This particular time of year, submersion injuries are common whether due to swift water incidents or accidents on the open water. Understanding who is most at risk for submersion injuries, the pathophysiologic effects of a submersion incident, and the typical course of treatment can help providers be better prepared to care for victims of submersion incidents.

Lindsey Myers is a certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. She currently works on the trauma service at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, Utah, and has 10 years of previous experience working as a critical care nurse. She has been a member of Utah County Sheriff Search and Rescue for the past 10 years and currently serves as the medical sergeant. She has been a certified swift water rescue technician and also worked as a lifeguard at Virginia Beach for approximately 3 years providing ocean rescue services.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015


Above Ground Rescue VS Cave Rescue

Would your rescue team be effective during a cave rescue? What are your resources? Do you even need outside resources? This webinar will discuss the drastic differences between above ground rescues and underground rescues and the different resources available to you. Many rescue teams are literally caught between a rock and a hard spot when attempting to conduct a cave rescue. The techniques that we rely on above ground do not always work underground. Did you know that for every 10 minutes a person travels into a cave, it will take trained cave rescuers an hour or more to remove the person if they are not able to walk themselves? Most cave rescues take multiple hours to, many times, days to complete.

You and your team also have to deal with the stress of: total darkness, small, cramped, wet working areas, and the stress of being underground for hours at a time. Confined space training is not adequate for cave rescues. Some of the differences between above and underground rescues include: haul systems, logistics, pre-planning, communications (or lack thereof), ICS, resources, moving patient, medical considerations, and other rescuer considerations.

Debbie Spoons has been a member of Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue since 2010. Debbie attends hundreds of hours of classes each year in cave rescue techniques, not only as a student but also as an instructor. She is a Level 2 NCRC – (National Cave Rescue Commission) and will complete Level 3 this summer. Debbie is the NSS (National Speleological Society) Webinar Chair and is in the process of building a “Cave Safety/Cave Rescue Library”, through hosting educational webinars. You can view these webinars at www.caves.org.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015


Using Social Media: Sharing Your Team As A Brand

Social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and Twitter have been around for more than a decade, yet it is still considered “new media.” This presentation will focus on how to integrate aspects of social networking into the marketing plan for your SAR unit. Social networks can be a cost effective way to promote your organization in your community, target advertising for recruiting new members, and fundraising. Some SAR units have also used social networking to communicate with SAR units from across the globe to discuss topics like technical rescue techniques and tools, management issues, and generate training ideas. Discussion related to specific social networks will be limited to Facebook and Twitter.

Bryan Enberg is the Vice President and lead SAR instructor for Northeast Mountain Guiding’s Professional Services Division. He has been a member of New Jersey Search and Rescue for sixteen years and currently holds the rank of Chief.
He serves as the Vice President of the Mountain Rescue Association and leads its social media marketing efforts. He holds certifications as an instructor for NASAR’s Managing the Lost Person Incident (MLPI), Introduction to Search and Rescue (ISAR), and Fundamentals of Search and Rescue (FUNSAR). Bryan recently developed the newly released NASAR program, Initial Actions in Search and Rescue. Bryan also instructs Rope Rescue and Patient Packaging and Transport, and offers consulting services regarding team management, social media and professional standards credentialing.

Bryan is the chairman of the Education Committee for the Search and Rescue Council of New Jersey and serves as the Council’s State Agency Liaison, leading its efforts within the state to establish a Search and Rescue Resource Credentialing system, in partnership with the New Jersey State Police OEM.

He has been backpacking and climbing since his Scouting years and has returned to Scouting with his son, Joshua. He resides in Sparta, New Jersey with his wife Jennifer, a Lieutenant and Search Manager with NJSAR, and NMG PSD Instructor.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015


Revisiting Mission Reporting and Search and Rescue Mapping for the MRA

More and more MRA teams are entering their missions into the ArcGIS mapping system athttp://msar.maps.arcgis.com/home/ for both reporting and search plan assistance. This system is paid for all MRA teams as part of the organization’s initiative to generate useable statistics.

Although data entry is very quick and self explanatory, Jon receives many questions about how to take full advantage of the system’s many features. He will answer many of these questions during this webinar.

Jon Pedder is a member of the Esri Disaster Response Program and is an active member of the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015


Getting Involved with the MRA & 2015 MRA Winter Business Meeting Review

The Webinar Training Committee took a vacation in January and we’re back on February 10th with a review of the MRA Winter Business Meeting held in Salt Lake City this weekend. If you can’t attend, this webinar will fill you in on all the action you missed.

We’ll also discuss various ways you can get involved with the MRA on the national and regional levels. PLEASE CONTACT SHAUN in advance if you have opportunities or ideas that I could include in this presentation.

Shaun will also be gathering quotes about WHY to get involved with the MRA, so send him those as well (along with a photo of yourself if possible).

The presenter, Shaun Roundy, has been a member of Utah County SAR since 1999. He has helped lead the MRA Intermountain Region since 2008 and founded the MRA Webinar Training Committee Chair in 2014.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, Feburary 10th, 2015


Mission Reporting and Search and Rescue Mapping for the MRA

The Mountain Rescue Association has access to a mapping system called ArcGIS Onlinehttp://msar.maps.arcgis.com/home/ and it has been configured for the MRA Mission Reporting initiative. We will cover how this is being used for mission reporting and how it could be used to support operations, especially missing person search operations. The presenters, Paul Doherty and Jon Pedder, are both members of the Esri Disaster Response Program. Paul Doherty, PhD is the Technical Lead for the Program. He has 4-years with Yosemite Search and Rescue, and is also an active researcher who focuses on the use Geographic Information Systems for Search and Rescue. Jon Pedder is the newest member of the Esri Disaster Response Program and has 9-years volunteering with the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014


Using the Lost Person Questionnaire

The Lost Person Questionnaire is an important tool which has been in use for many years by SAR Managers and other investigators to glean information from a variety of sources to help focus search efforts on clues which may be of use to search planners, evaluators, and teams in the field. The LPQ form has evolved over the years and each segment may prove valuable. Modern technology allows it to be deployed in ways not possible even a decade ago.

Alan Wakefield has been involved in search and rescue since 1972 and has served continuously as an Incident Commander in Utah County since 1990. He has received training and certifications in nearly every SAR-related discipline imaginable, and served on four separate Governor appointed Task Force committees in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics, including the Search and Rescue committee. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974, has been married for 44 years, is the father of four children and has nine grandchildren.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014


SAR Communication Skills: Strengthening the Weakest Link

When a child gets injured on the mountain, MRA teams know exactly what to do. We organize search teams, build technical systems, and provide medical care. We perform these advanced skillsets efficiently because we train for them and every incident provides an opportunity to test our abilities. One crucial skill, however, gets mostly forgotten. We never train for it and don’t know how to measure our proficiency. The first goal of this webinar is to convince you that you’re not as good of a communicator as you thought you were, then suggest a dozen ways to improve. The webinar aims to make you more aware of helpful communication skills and how your team culture created through communication can either cause fatalities or increase morale and dedication among your volunteers.

Presenter and communications expert Shaun Roundy has been a SAR member for fifteen years, a member of the MRA Intermountain Region leadership for seven, and chairs the MRA Webinar Training Committee. He speaks several languages; taught university strategic writing for fifteen years; and has written several books, including “75 Search and Rescue Stories: an insider’s view of survival, death, and volunteer heroes who tip the balance when things fall apart.”

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014


Suicide Missions: Coping Strategies for Dealing with Suicide Recoveries in the Backcountry

As mountain rescuers, we pride ourselves on our ability to save the lives of the folks who are having a bad day in the mountains. But as the recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams drove home, not every story has a happy ending, and an increasing number of rescuers find themselves performing the recovery of suicides in the backcountry. This webinar will provide some coping strategies and tips for SAR managers and rescuers who find themselves dealing with the aftermath of what is now the 10th leading cause of death in America – suicide.

The presenter, Tom Wood, is an author, freelance writer and 16 year veteran of the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen, Colorado. He is their current Field Director, and an MRA Terrestrial Rescue Delegate. A former journalist and combat photographer with the USMC, Tom’s day job is that of Training Manager for Vertical Rescue Solutions (Pigeon Mountain Industries’ training division). He lives in Conifer, Colorado with his wife and three children.

Original Webinar Date: Thursday, September 4th, 2014


Unmanned Arial Drone Rescue: An Overview of UAV Utility, Tech Specs, and Legal Threats

Watch this informative webinar by 16-year SAR veteran and 9-year UAV-Enabled Wilderness SAR Adviser Ron Zeeman. This half-hour presentation will convey Ron’s extensive experience and experimentation which will guide you in adding this emerging technology to your field operations. You will also gain an increased appreciation for drones’ utility, including their ability to speed up searches and support victims while awaiting rescue. You will further learn about the evolving legal environment surrounding drone use and empower you to provide useful input into the conversations which will shape the future of UAV use in SAR operations.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 (Recording unavailable)


Death Notification: Doing your best when the news is the worst

Death and survivor notification are inevitable parts of emergency response, but training for this important work is limited. Learn proven approaches and review the research that will allow you to share the worst of news with kindness, while reducing responder stress & anxiety.

Presenter Tim Durkin’s career in SAR and EMS began in 1992 with Explorer SAR post 616 in Maryland. While completing his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, he was a volunteer EMT and CPR instructor. He continued to volunteer as an EMT in his community fire/rescue department after college, and completed paramedic training in 2000. After work as both a volunteer and career paramedic, he returned to school and completed his medical education at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2005. He completed residency in emergency medicine at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Since 2009, he has been practicing emergency medicine in Albuquerque and is an active member of Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council, where he has served as communication chair, Vice President and most recently Medical Director.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Social Media for SAR:How to Turn Your Mission Reports Into a Fundraising Machine

Watch this recorded webinar discussing how social media can work to enhance the fundraising and branding of nonprofits. Also, learn the new rules regarding how social media should be managed in today’s information age.

Presenter Richard Solosky has over 25 years of business development and marketing expertise. He is the founder of two software development companies and has over 15 years of nonprofit experience serving at various levels bridging both staff and board functions. He is a principal and senior consultant with Questus Strategies serving nonprofits in the areas of marketing, fundraising and organizational development; his nonprofit blog, rsolosky | hip tips provides progressive nonprofit viewpoints, attitudes and strategies. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Nonprofit Management from Regis University.

A world traveler, with a natural love of the outdoors and outdoor activities, Richard is an experienced backcountry skier, mountaineer, rock climber, road and mountain biker, and mountain guide; a twelve-year field-active team leader with Alpine Rescue Team, he served as president, training director, and as chairman of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Mountain Rescue Association. He has resided in Evergreen, Colorado since 1990. Richard is an environmentally concerned citizen, who believes that stewardship of both our wild places and communities is critical to our sustainability.

Original Webinar Date: Tuesday, June 3, 2014