2018 Conference Courses

We will be offering a variety of courses, workshops, and presentations throughout the weekend.  Our goal at the MASAR conference is to bring together some of the best minds in the SAR community to share their knowledge and specialities with the Maine Search and Rescue community.  In addition to these courses there will be two Keynote Speakers; one on Friday night, one on Saturday night.

Many of the presenters at the 2018 conference are nationally and internationally known; for more information about who will be presenting, please click here to see our “Faculty” page.


 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) will be available for some courses. Details forthcoming.

Course Registration Information

Courses will be open on a first-come, first-serve sign up basis when conference registration is open.  If pre-registration is required, that will be noted with a *.  All course fees are included in the conference registration cost with the exception of the WFA course.

Full-Day Courses

Wilderness First Aid–Wilderness Medical Associates *

Wilderness First Aid, or WFA, is the foundational course of wilderness medicine.  WMA is one of the premier companies in the world that offers this course; many SAR teams require team members to get a WFA certification to become full team members.  This course is highly recommended to any member of a SAR team, or anyone who spends a lot of time in the outdoors.  This course will be BOTH Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19.

Water Rescue Awareness–Lifesaving Rescue Resource *

The WRA is a fast-paced comprehensive 4.5-hour classroom session specifically designed for Public Safety and Rescue Professionals. It is designed as a foundational course for all public safety and rescue personnel, regardless of their swimming ability or experience in, on, or around the water.  The focus of this training program is on the prevention, recognition and management of drowning and aquatic injuries, surface water rescue and survival principles and procedures. It is designed to provide public safety and rescue professional with the knowledge required to safely and effectively respond to rescue and recovery incidents in, on, and around the water.  This course will be held on Saturday, May 19.

BASAR Practical Assessment–MASAR  *

Join MASAR representatives and test yourself on Friday, May 18th in the annual BASAR practical assessment day.  If you need to take the BASAR course prior to this assessment day, the course is available online through MASAR.org.  This course will be on Friday, May 18.

Lost Person Behavior–Robert Koester *

The goal of this course is to provide participants with the tools and knowledge necessary to successfully look in the right place, understand lost person behavior, apply statistical tables, identify needed special investigation, and deploy resources in the field.  Participants should also be able to brief other searchers on key components of lost person behavior. Everyone needs to know where to look from the field searcher to search management.  This applied training session is intended for public safety responders involved in search and rescue.

Half-Day Courses

High Angle Rescue Advanced Practitioner Scenario–Rigging for Rescue *

Join Leo Lloyd, veteran instructor at Rigging for Rescue, for a half-day high angle rock rescue scenario at a location near the conference venue. Two scenarios will be put forth:

Scenario 1:

Participants will explore the mechanics of implementing a realistic team oriented multi-pitch lowering operation with station transitions on steep and high angle terrain. This workshopwill also include litter orientation considerations, attendant rigging, and patient care/securing.

Scenario 2:

This scenario explore select team oriented pick-off technique considerations based on realistic variables in a given mountain rescue scenario.

These scenarios will be open to those members of Maine’s high angle rescue teams who have participated in RfR trainings in the past.  While individual participants do not need to have been through a RfR course, they do need the written recommendation of a team director who has been.  All personal PPE and rock rescue technician equipment is required for this course; team gear will be provided by WRT.

Trouble in the Presidentials: What a Mountaineering Accident Can Teach Us About Decision Making, and Managing Risk–Ty Gagne

Although strikingly beautiful, Mount Washington and the surrounding Presidential Range hold the dubious distinction of having “the world’s worst weather.” The Presidential Range is also world-renowned for the challenging terrain it provides for alpinists, and as such, has been the scene of hundreds of mountaineering accidents over the years. Ty Gagne will provide an in-depth analysis of a recent tragedy on the range and extend those lessons and others learned above treeline into your roles as search and rescue team members.  After the presentation, participants will apply the concepts covered during the prior session to themselves and their team, with the goal of increasing effectiveness in decision-making and risk management in a workshop setting.

Probability of Detection (POD) for K9–Jocelyn Stohl

This workshop will provide participants with the information from the foundation, concepts and application of POD for the airscenting K9.  Probability of detection is defined as the ability to detect a clue and/or the missing subject by the actions applied by the searcher(s) effort within the probability of area identified. It is of equal importance for search management and search resources to understand search theory and from means and effort applied to determine a reliable value for POD. This presentation will include a concise overview of Probability of Detection for ground searching that will include, but not be limited to, a historical compilation, the relationship to probability of area, the critical importance in search planning and operations, effective sweep width, the environment, time and weather variables involved in calculating POD. Participants will examine samples of different situations and perform calculations.

Search planning tabletops for the Airscent K9Jocelyn Stohl

This workshop will consist of a smorgasbord of true search scenarios exercises that will follow a checklist of information to include first notice and urgency, interviewing, planning and searching data, lost person behavior, resources, search theory and creating a search plan. Exercises will follow the above overview to allow for completion and discussion for each problem. Participants will work in teams and receive necessary information and tools to construct a logical search plan onto preparing assignments. 


Individual Session Courses

Fatigue in SAR–Robert Koester

SAR teams are effective at finding clues and rescuing lost people–To a point.  We’re all human and we all become fatigued after some length of time.  Bob Koester has devoted his life’s work to researching different topics related to Search and Rescue operations.  In this 75 minute presentation, he will share data and research about rescuer fatigue.

 Vermont’s SAR Transformation: 2012-Present–Neil Van Dyke

In 2012 a tragic hiking incident resulted in dramatic changes in how Vermont approaches search and rescue. This workshop will review the changes that have taken place over the past 5+ years. These include new legislation that was passed, new policies and procedures that were put in place and other initiatives. Every state takes a different approach to search and rescue, and in some ways Vermont is unique in that they had an opportunity to almost ‘start from scratch’. This has presented both opportunities and challenges.

Case Studies from Vermont–Neil Van Dyke

Vermont’s terrain, recreational use, and SAR demographics are very similar to Maine’s. This workshop will present several case studies of recent search and rescue incidents from VT.

Maine Forestry-Helicopter Operations Introduction–MFS

One of the helicopter resources for SAR missions in Maine, and the only resource controlled by the State of Maine, the Maine Forest Rangers are planning on bringing their helicopters to give a hands-on presentation introducing SAR volunteers to protocols and operations around helicopters.  Maine Forest Rangers are the only helicopter operator in the state that conducts short haul rescues. The workshop will consist of the Forest Ranger mission for fire and SAR to include general helicopter safety, embarkation/debarkation, equipment use, short haul, and search dog familiarity. MFS will provide all of the equipment necessary.

LifeFlight of Maine-Helicopter Operations Introduction–LifeFlight of Maine

LifeFlight of Maine flies fast and far in their fixed wing and rotary aircraft.  They will bring one of their rescue helicopters along with a flight crew to discuss the medical capabilities and advantages that LifeFlight has to offer in the SAR scenario.

Missing Persons in a Densely Populated AreaJocelyn Stohl

In 2012, the Bangor Daily News reported Maine as the most rural state while urban centers continued to grow. Portland, Bangor and Lewiston were identified as “urbanized areas”.  Across the county, search and rescue teams are frequently found assisting with searches in areas identified as a suburban/urban environment. Many municipalities have suburban/rural settings with open pastures and bordering a wilderness environment. Legal authorities, a majority of the time being law enforcement departments, may need assistance from SAR resources trained and equipped to handle these types of environments that encroach upon residential and business areas, paved streets with varying traffic patterns as well as industrial hazardous areas and waterways. In this presentation participants will learn the processes engaged, that include but not limited to, investigation needs, gathering information, subject profile, vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, mapping, establishing the search area, resources and containment. A case review is included.

Mounted SAR: Capabilities and Deployment Tactics–Tomi’ Finkle

This course will provide search managers an awareness of how to deploy MSAR responders for searches in wilderness and suburban search environments; provide disaster response and manpower assistance and mounted perimeter patrols for large incident.

K9 Meets Equine–Tomi’ Finkle

This course is designed for SAR K-9’s that have never been exposed to SAR Equines or as refresher for past attendees. The goal of this course is for K-9’s to work on task with their handlers, without the K-9 being distracted by horses within their work zone or track. K9’s attending must be CGC or equivalent certified.

Effective Equine Evacuations–Tomi’ Finkle

 While many rescuers have experienced a walk-out or a carry-out, few realize the benefits of equine resources in shortening long evacuations in terrain accessible on horseback. This course will provide knowledge and skills of when a mounted EVAC can be performed and how to be an assistant of the Mounted Evacuation Team.

Basic Weather Forecasting for SAR Team Members–Matt Vaughan

This workshop covers the fundamental principles of meteorology with a focus on using observations to forecast the weather. Topics include: reading standard weather maps and charts, weather observing systems, nephology and cloud types, basic dynamic and thermodynamic laws of the atmosphere, and nowcasting using observations in the field.

Advanced Weather Forecasting Workshop–Matt Vaughan

This workshop builds on the principles of the Basic Weather Workshop and focuses on weather prediction using computer models. The workshop will cover the basic principles of numerical weather prediction, common biases in models, and the proper use of ensemble forecast data.

Brain Science and the Non-Litter Evacuation–Paul and Eva Marcolini

Paul and Eva Marcolini will lead a workshop on the science of the human brain in victims of SAR scenarios and the best ways to evacuate a victim without using a litter.  The brain science and practical skills of “talking someone down” will be addressed.

Food Dehydration for Search and Rescue–Dorcas Miller

People have been dehydrating food for thousands of years. The technique is particularly useful for camp food. In this seminar, we will cover how to dehydrate various foods – fruit, vegetables; leathers; salads; cooked beans, grains and pasta; meat; and fish – and how to use them as ingredients for quick and easy camp meals. We will also discuss home-cooking a whole meal, dehydrating it, and rehydrating it on trail.  Dorcas will also be bringing a dehydrator to demonstrate setup and samples of dehydrated foods.

Drone Integration into Search and Rescue–K2 Unmanned Systems 

K2 Unmanned Systems will lead a workshop focused on drone developments in SAR, including a demonstration of their most recent innovations in SAR drones.  K2 Unmanned Systems specialized in developing drones and training pilots for Search and Rescue professionals nationwide.

Medical Scenario Series–John McElrath and Reed Jenks

Join Instructors from the Outdoor Emergency Care program that is used by the National Ski Patrol to keep your medical skills fresh.  While OEC is slightly different than WFA, WFR, or WEMT, these instructors are fresh off of a winter season and have scenarios planned that will keep any wilderness medical practitioner on their toes. *All participants need at least WFA certification or higher to attend these workshops.*

NASAR: The National Association For Search and Rescue–TBD

While nearly sharing an acronym with MASAR, NASAR is the national organization that connects search and rescue professionals and volunteers.  We’re excited to bring a representative from NASAR to present about the national organization and what it has to offer to individuals, teams, and the larger SAR framework of Maine.

MRA: The Mountain Rescue Association–TBD

The Mountain Rescue Association has been around for a long time, but doesn’t fit into Maine’s SAR framework.  A representative from the MRA will be presenting about what the MRA is, how it can help individual SAR teams, and how it can be a useful resource in the larger SAR community in Maine.