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The mission of the Warren County Rescue Department is to save lives and to help protect the citizens of Warren County and to assist area counties, under mutual aid agreements by being trained and prepared to respond to, and assist other departments in responses to emergency situations which threaten the health and welfare of its citizens.
Department Missions include but not limited to:
- Lost Person Search, Rescue and Recovery
- Search, Rescue and Recovery of Drowning Victims
- Swift Water Rescue and Recovery
- Water Search, Rescue and Recovery utilizing divers
- Cave Search, Rescue and Recovery
- High/Low Angle Rescue and Recovery
- Urban Search and Rescue
- Disaster Relief Operations
- Weather Spotting
- Rescue and/or Recovery and transportation of victims from off road areas (bluffs, river, woods etc.) to an area that an ambulance can travel.
- Assist with mass casualty transportation
- Assist Coroner during mass casualty incidents
- Assist with evacuation when declaration of emergency
- Assist with traffic control, at the request of law enforcement during evacuation when declaration of emergency by county judge-executive
Ground Search and Rescue Division
"Bringing Loved Ones Home"
The Search &Rescue division specializes in locating missing or overdue persons in wilderness and urban environments. Whether it is a child lost in the woods or a person who failed to return home from a hunting trip, the Search & Rescue division is there to locate these people and bring them to safety. To accomplish these missions the Search & Rescue division has a mobile command post that can be set up on scene and is where all of the coordination and strategizing takes place. Inside the command post crew members are able to print multiple missing person fliers, which include a picture of the person missing and information about them. Staff members are also able to print off aerial photographs of the area in which teams will be operating.
The Search &Rescue division has many resources and technology available to assist with these missions. Personnel are trained in Basic and advanced Search &Rescue tactics, which includes survival training, lost person behavior training, and other important skills. Some members have received special man tracking training, which allows them to follow a missing person by tracking their footprints or looking at the signs of their passage. Staff members have thermal imaging and night vision equipment available, which means they can search day or night. Warren County Rescue has also formed an equestrian support team in 2012 to complement the resources available to this division and has showed to be a great success and asset in the efforts of bringing loved ones home.
Dive Rescue and Recovery Division
The Dive Rescue & Recovery team performs the same mission task as Water Rescue; however Divers are utilized to accomplish the mission. Divers earn their Open Water Certifications through state recognized organizations, such as IDEA and PADI. Divers also earn their Public Safety Diver certifications.
Our divers use special equipment, such as underwater communications equipment, underwater cameras, an underwater personnel-propulsion device, and dry suits. Our divers are able to talk to each other under the water and can also talk to support personnel on land as if they were talking on a phone. Their dry suits and full face masks allow them to stay completely dry while under water, which means they can dive in ice cold water and not be affected. When it comes to dive training and equipment, our divers get the best we can buy. Because when you're sixty feet underwater it's life or death.
You may be thinking to yourself...how can someone be rescued if it takes a diver to get to them? Aren't they dead? In the Rescue business, there is what's called the Platinum Ten and the Golden Hour. These are time references that are used to describe the optimal time in which a lifesaving action is effective. Unfortunately most drowning’s do turn into a recovery effort; however there's always a chance.
Recovery missions for the dive team are not just limited to victims. Recovery missions include objects as well, such as vehicles or evidence. Warren County Rescue has made it possible to recover several vehicles and pieces of evidence that were under water. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to become a diver. The training is extensive and the demands of the role are high. Being a diver carries with it a lot of responsibility.
Water Search Rescue and Recovery Division
The Water Rescue division specializes in retrieving persons in distress that are in or on the water including flood water. This may be a person drowning or a person in a disabled water craft. The Water Rescue division has four rescue boats and two canoes. Two of the four boats have special SONAR equipment installed so that boat operators can scan the bottom of the river or lake and find drowning victims or other items in an aquatic environment. The water craft are also equipped with global positioning satellite units.
High / Low Angle Technical Rescue Division
A victim is at the bottom of a 100 foot cliff. How do we reach them and get them to safety? Our High/Low Angle Rescue team takes care of these situations. Ropes, carabineers, pulleys, descanters, ascenders, harnesses, and special baskets are a part of the solution. Using such skills as belaying, rappelling, or using mechanical advantages is another part of the solution.
Training can be very exciting...that is if you don't have a fear of heights. Training is primarily provided through KCTCS and current qualified staff members. Members learn how to safely operate in high/low angle environments, how to tie knots and properly care for ropes, and they learn how to set up mechanical advantages--a system of ropes and pulleys that can be used to haul or hoist heavy objects with little effort.
Cave Search Rescue and Recovery Division
The cave rescue team doesn't play around in the safe tourist area...they're in the areas where skills and training are required to survive. A cave can be a very dangerous environment. Within minutes a cave can be flooded with rain water, pieces of rock can fall on a person, and a person could fall into a hole, or even succumb to hypothermia. It can be easy for someone to become disoriented in a cave, or to become lost due to a flashlight failure. Members receive training from NCRC, the National Cave Rescue Commission.
WC Rescue Project Lifesaver
Project LifeSaver helps to provide a rapid response to save lives and reduce potential for serious injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, and other related cognitive conditions. The system works by using tracking bracelets. A person wears a bracelet that is continuously emitting a signal, similar to the homing beacon that a downed air plane would emit. When the person is reported missing, our teams respond to the area and use special equipment that is designed to locate the signal.
Our goal is to provide a family with a tracking bracelet at no cost to the family. Yes, that's right, at no cost! Money is the last thing we want a family thinking about. Their attention and care should be solely focused on their loved one. When a family wants to sign up for the system, we will create a profile for the person who will be wearing the bracelet. This profile is our Operation Golden Retrieval packet, which contains the person’s picture, their information, and other pertinent information (no sensitive information such as social security numbers or anything like that are saved). Once the profile is complete, the loved gets their bracelet and the family is given a "testing device" to check the bracelet on a daily basis to ensure it is always emitting a signal. Within a month, our team will make a house visit to change the battery in the bracelet.
Operation Golden Retrieval
Operation Golden Retrieval, (also known as "OGR") is a program designed for persons with Alzheimer's or other cognitive brain disorders. The program is free of charge. It costs you nothing but a few minutes to fill out the packet. This is an extremely important aspect to this program. It doesn't cost the family a penny.
A family fills out a "memory kit" on their loved one and the memory kit is kept in their residence, and a copy is kept on file in our facility's secured database. The memory kit contains the important information, such as their name, height, weight, eye color, hair color, and other identifiers such as scars, or medical bracelets they may be wearing. The kit also includes a recent photograph of the person. No sensitive information such as social security numbers or account numbers are kept in the memory kit. It simply contains information on what the person looks like and also goes into their history. The history portion lists places where they have lived and worked in the past. As a person with Alzheimer's progresses into the stages of the Alzheimer's disease, they will sometimes visit places where they used to live or work. In the event a loved one wanders off, the caregiver simply calls 911. When an emergency responder arrives on scene (such as a police officer, a rescue department responder, or fire department responder) the caregiver gives the memory kit to them. The emergency responder is then able to brief everyone who has initially arrived on scene and show everyone the picture. Emergency responders are then able to start quickly searching the area with accurate information.
The information they have is accurate because the information was obtained in a calm and relaxed environment at an OGR sign up. When an emergency occurs, adrenaline starts pumping and people may not be able to think clearly. With the information already written down, there is no confusion. The only questions that need to be asked are "what were they wearing, when were they last seen and what direction were they last seen heading, and have they taken any of their important medication." When it comes time to review a person's history, the information is there. If it weren't already written down, a caregiver could possibly over look an important piece of information during the investigative process.
The memory kit can also mean a faster activation of a "Golden Alert." A Golden Alert is similar to an Amber Alert. With the information already written down and prepackaged, the information can be quickly relayed to media outlets to inform the public of a missing person with Alzheimer's. When this happens, we now have the whole community involved with the search. The more eyes and ears looking for your loved one the better
- Andy Tucker
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