Suicide Missions: Coping Strategies for Dealing with Suicide Recoveries in the Backcountry

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Presenter: Tom Wood | MRA Webinar Series |
As mountain rescuers, we pride ourselves on our ability to save the lives of the folks who are having a bad day in the mountains. But as the recent suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams drove home, not every story has a happy ending, and an increasing number of rescuers find themselves performing the recovery of suicides in the backcountry. This webinar will provide some coping strategies and tips for SAR managers and rescuers who find themselves dealing with the aftermath of what is now the 10th leading cause of death in America – suicide.

The presenter, Tom Wood, is an author, freelance writer and 16 year veteran of the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen, Colorado. He is their current Field Director, and an MRA Terrestrial Rescue Delegate. A former journalist and combat photographer with the USMC, Tom’s day job is that of Training Manager for Vertical Rescue Solutions (Pigeon Mountain Industries’ training division). He lives in Conifer, Colorado with his wife and three children.

WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE: Rope Access Rescue VS Backcountry High Angle Rescue Techniques

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Presenter: Tom Wood | Webinar | 
Though many rural or wilderness first responders may not realize it, industrial rope access is likely going on in their back yard. The popularity of rope access as a means to access hard-to-reach and remote at-height work sites like dams, bridges, highway rock scaling projects and ridge-top cell towers has exploded in recent years. There are now thousands of Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) certified rope techs working in the U.S., and often their job sites are miles outside the jurisdictions of the urban municipal departments who train for industrial high angle rescue.

Though these rope access techs are trained to rescue themselves in the event of an accident or emergency, what happens if they are unable to do so? Could your rural or wilderness SAR agency safely and efficiently perform what used to be thought of as an industrial rescue? Just what is rope access anyway, and how do rope access technicians perform high angle rescues? This presentation will answer these questions and many others by comparing and contrasting the techniques and gear employed by rope access technicians versus those of the backcountry rescuer when doing a one-on-one pickoff-type rescue of a suspended rope access worker.