The Skamania county Sheriff's Office along with volunteers from Wind River Search and Rescue and other local volunteer SAR groups will host the 2002 Washington State Search and Rescue conference.
The annual event will be held May 13-19 in Stabler, just 10 miles north of Stevenson.
The conference has experienced a great deal of success over the past several years and this years planning team is hoping for more of the same. The 2001 conference was held in Mason County Washington and saw an attendance of nearly 1000 people over the 3 days of conference training.
The focus of the conference is to provide a wide array of training opportunities to search and rescue volunteers and others interested in search and rescue. The training is divided into 2 separate categories. The pre-conference, May 13-17, focuses on advanced training in the areas of search management and incident command training. There are also several courses offered in the field of canine search training for those who use dogs to assist in SAR. The general conference training begins Friday, May 17 and continues through Sunday, May 19. The training offered over this 3 day period consists of over 60 courses ranging from basic search and rescue knowledge to more advanced courses related to the use of GPS units and other technology used in search and rescue.
"We are excited to host this year's conference," said Skamania County Sheriff Chuck Bryan. "We have consistently ranked in the top 10 in the state with regards to calls for Search and Rescue over the past several years. We have enjoyed the tremendous support of many volunteer SAR groups from Washington and Oregon on several missions and we hope that by hosting the conference in this corner of the state, many volunteers from the region will be able to attend. It is, in a small way, our effort to thank them for their continued dedication to the field of search and rescue."
The conference has historically been well attended by volunteers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Alaska and British Columbia. There are currently attendees from New Zealand and Nova Scotia registered to attend the conference this year.
The military has traditionally been extremely supportive in providing helicopters for demonstrations and training. That is true again this year with support being offered from the 304th out of Portland as well as M.A.S.T. from Ft. Lewis. Also pledging support and air resources this year are Lifeflight, military SAR aircraft from Spokane, the Coast Guard from Astoria and a CH-47 from Fort Lewis.
The conference is open to anyone wishing to attend and registration forms are available by calling the Skamania County Sheriff's Office at 509-427-9490. Prior to April 15, the cost to register is $55 per person. The $55 cost covers instruction cost and meals May 17-19. There are additional registration costs to attend some of the pre-conference courses. For complete information and registration forms on-line you can visit the conference web page at www.skamaniasheriff.com. The conference logo can be found on the Sheriff's home page. Click on the logo and you will find information on pre-conference and conference courses, directions to the site, camping and other lodging information as well as information on meals and other items of interest.
The public is invited to attend during an open house on Saturday, May 18, between 1 and 5 p.m.