The Mountain Club of South Africa
Latest News

MSAR National Training Meet

Search & Rescue 28 November 2017 MSAR National Training Meet

MCSA Mountain Search And Rescue (MSAR) teams from across the country converged on the Cederberg for the biennial MCSA MSAR National Training Meet from 1 to 5 November 2017.

Participants from the six MCSA MSAR teams (Gauteng, Cape Town, Hottentots Holland, KZN, Garden Route and Eastern Cape) were joined by representatives from local Search and Rescue (SAR) organisations, namely HAMNET, Off Road Rescue Unit (Western Cape), K9SARA, Western Cape Metro EMS, CapeNature as well as the South African Air Force’s 22 Squadron from Ysterplaat, which provided air support for some of the training scenarios during the latter part of the event. Also in attendance were an international guest from the USA (a rescue trainer ranger from Grand Teton National Park / Yosemite Search and Rescue), as well as two representatives each from Rwenzori Trekking Services (Uganda) and Kenya Wildlife Services. The African participants were invited with the view to share local skills and techniques with MCSA affiliates further abroad, so as to foster closer working relationships between various African mountain clubs.

The aim of the biennial MCSA National Meets is to share experience and know-how with regards to the latest rescue equipment and techniques, as well as to streamline operational procedures between the different teams (and their respective regional counterparts) which otherwise have few opportunities to train together. A particularly important objective is to provide realistic, but safe training opportunities to young and upcoming leadership tiers, allowing the younger generations to learn from the seniors (some of whom have over 30 years’ experience) during the supervised execution of complex and multi-faceted mountain rescue scenarios.

The 2017 National Meet was the fifth such training exercise (past meets have been held in George, the Magaliesberg and the KZN Drakensberg) and took the form of a series of day-long training scenarios, aiming to challenge small teams technically in tricky locations. Each team was constituted of a mix of 12 to 15 delegates from the various participating organisations for the duration of the meet, allowing learning points from one day to be carried over and implemented on consecutive days, thereby fostering greater sharing of knowledge and expertise, greater skills application and integration, as well as closer team-work and much smoother operations as the days progressed. At the end of each day, each team presented key debrief points at the daily overall debrief session, thus allowing insights to be shared between the various teams as well. When not on the hill, not packing and unpacking kit and not sleeping, participants cooled off in the river and enjoyed relaxing evening chats together with local beers and piles of excellent food provided by the caterers.

As a national training event, the Meet is self-funded by the MCSA, drawing from a combination of funds such as the annual grant from the Department of Transport, contributions by participants, private donations as well as sponsorships.

The MCSA thanks all participants, as well as its numerous supporters including the Niewoudt family in the Cederberg and CapeNature for making the event an immense success.

Compilied by Gela Tölken, Simon McDonnell & Dean van der Merwe


Related Posts