The WISAR area of operations includes extensive exposed rocky shores as well as numerous lakes and rivers. Operating in swift water areas requires special training and equipment and the exposed rocky shorelines present a unique challenge. The operational need is both to allow searchers to operate safely in these potentially hazardous situations and also to be able to affect rescues in those circumstances where this can be done safely and effectively.
In the early spring of 2004 seven members of the WISAR team were certified to operate in swift water areas (Swiftwater Safety Operations and Swiftwater Rescue Technician levels) in a course that was customized to include aspects of exposed rocky shoreline operations. This training was funded in part by the NIF program of NSS. In order to apply this training and to provide greater safety for searchers and greater capabilities for both search and rescue operations the WISAR team is seeking to acquire the necessary equipment. In addition to equipment we are also looking for funds for training. We plan to have more of the WISAR team take the Swiftwater Safety Operations certification course so that they can operate in a wider range of conditions. We would also are planning to work further with Rescue Canada to develop the necessary courses and standards for operating in exposed rocky shore areas.