1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Somewhere in the Backcountry...

    Default Survival Miracle: Lessons Learned

    I thought that splitting this off was a good call because the FANTASTIC news of the boy's rescue shouldn't be diminished by Monday morning quarterbacking, etc.

    Clarification - this is in response to the rescue of the 2 boys off of the NC coast. Sorry for not being clearer.

    Caution: Long Post

    I do think that as many lessons as possible should be pulled out of this near tragedy to help everyone in the rescue community improve their decision making and response "models". The USCG seems to be on top of this already.

    Not that it happened in this situation, but there seems to be pressure to close out SAR (land or water) incidents quickly. This seems to vary depending on the agency in charge (or their leadership). Human beings are incredibly resilient and, in most instances, have an incredible will to live. Too often we assume that a situation is unsurvivable because of all the negative factors when, in some instances, the positive factors provide the edge for someone to survive 4, 5, 6 or more days in supposedly "unsurvivable" conditions.

    I have personally seen several incidents where individuals have survived well beyond the timeframes predicted by conventional wisdom in the professional SAR community.

    One of the hardest decisions any search manager or IC can make is to suspend a search, particularly for a missing child.

    We owe it to the subjects and their families and indeed ourselves to carefully examine our search models and assumptions. Challenge assumptions, play what-if scenarios with up and down sides to see if a small series of events might lead in a different direction and a different outcome. Just as a series of small misteps may lead to a tragedy, so can a series of small "miracles" lead to a positive outcome.

    Anyway - enough ranting. I would just like to encourage everyone to challenge assumptions about what is survivable and what is not.
    Last edited by MtnRsq; 05-02-2005 at 06:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999



    Are you referring to the two young folks off of North Carolina??
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Auburn, KS


    I have 6 years of firefighting/water rescue under my belt. I do love the Coast Guard...it has taught me a lot. There practices do leave a lot to be desired. Covering ocean during a search is a gigantic pain the rear, currents, wind flow, and on top of that 9 out 10 times distress calls are off in position by sometimes up to 5 miles and anyone who has been stuck on lookout while underway, will tell you 5 miles is a big deal.

    The Coast Guard is "reviewing" there search patterns. What that boils down to is they don't know they beefed it up, but are going to try and correct the problem. Finding two boys on a 14 foot boat in open ocean isn't an easy task. Although you would figure since that is what they specilize in they would be a little quicker then what they where.

    But since 9/11 the Coast Guard's missions have darn near tripled, requiring three times the manpower that they just don't have, and can't seem to get either. Just growing pains I guess.
    FF/EMT Erik ("Woody") Wood
    Auburn Fire/Rescue
    Auburn, KS

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