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   Website updated:   December 21, 2017 at 12:01 AM EST.  

Kudos to Nye County Search and Rescue!

After a weekend wilderness rescue exercise, two off-road rescues performed just one week later...


MARCH 15, 2010

Members of Nye County Search and Rescue -- Tonopah Unit, plus firefighters from Tonopah VFD, along with emergency responders from Eureka, Esmeralda and Lander counties, completed a weekend wilderness rescue training exercise on Sunday, February 21, 2010. The location for this training, McKinney Tanks, off US Highway 6 approximately 18 miles east of Tonopah, is an abandoned old west stage coach stop and livestock watering hole. With the aid of Boy Scouts from BSA Troop 17 in Tonopah as victims, the exercise covered all aspects of rescue missions in desert wilderness areas.


The exercise ended with a scenario which included multiple victims with varying injuries sustained when the Scouts' anchor gave way while rappelling. The off road emergency response included incident command, scene assessment, requesting additional assets, triage, packaging and transport of multiple victims from the scene to an ambulance staging area. With four patients and a half mile of rocky high desert terrain to cover, responders utilized a four wheel drive 'MULE' off-road utility vehicle from Tonopah VFD and Nye County SAR's 'All Terrain Res-Q' trailer for moving the most seriously injured of the boys. With limited resources, the patient transport trailer allows for the team's technical rescue gear to be transported in the vehicle bed while carrying a patient and EMT on the trailer.

After the exercise participants packed up for home. With sporadic run volume year round, and even fewer rescue missions in winter, members didn't expect to put lessons learned this weekend to use for weeks. However, as emergency responders know, the call for rescue can come at any time. In Nye County's case, the call came just one week later.


Nye County SAR Responds to Dunes ATV Accident

MARCH 15, 2010

On Sunday, February 28, 2010, at 1400 hours, Nye County Ambulance Service -- Tonopah Unit was dispatched to reports of a 4-wheeler accident with multiple injuries at Crescent Sand Dunes 10 miles north of Tonopah. Following standard operating procedures, Nye County Search and Rescue and Tonopah Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to the scene as well. According to Patty Winters, Nye County EMS Coordinator:

"Typical of small desert communities, the automatic dispatch of all three agencies saves valuable time and insures an adequate number of emergency personnel with specialized off-road rescue equipment are headed to the scene."


Upon arrival at the Crescent Sand Dunes parking area, emergency personnel found the adult female passenger from the 4-wheeler accident, despite being injured, had managed to walk out almost two miles to the parking lot and called 911 for help.  She advised that the adult male operator of the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) was laying at the bottom of a sand dune with serious multiple injuries. The two had been riding a single seat sport type ATV in unfamiliar desert terrain when they crested a dune at an unsafe speed and tumbled approximately 30 feet to the bottom of a sand bowl.

Upon reaching the ATV operator's location he was treated at the scene for neck, back, chest, and leg injuries by EMTs from Tonopah Volunteer EMS and Nye County SAR. After the patient was packaged for transport in a basket stretcher, rescuers loaded him onto the patient transport trailer. Towed by the Tonopah VFD's 4X4 MULE, Nye County Search and Rescue's 'All Terrain Res-Q' off-road rescue trailer is the first of its kind in Nevada.


A transport team consisting of two Nye County SAR EMTs and a UTV driver from Tonopah VFD safely transported the victim to a waiting ambulance, almost two miles away over soft desert sand, in just 10 minutes! Requiring only three personnel and 10 minutes to perform the carry out portion of this rescue mission not only saved time, it allowed other EMTs to provide care for the passenger's less serious injuries while her companion was being hauled out.

According to Rick Motis, Commander of Nye County Search and Rescue -- Tonopah Unit:

"Without the patient trailer, this rescue mission would have required 6 to 10 more personnel and almost three hours to carry the victim out. Also, the use of a trailer greatly reduces risk of injuries to rescuers as they're not required to carry patients out while traversing soft sand or other hazards common to the high desert terrain. When dealing with emergencies in remote locations like the Crescent Sand Dunes, minutes saved often translates into lives saved!"


When the transport team arrived at the ambulance, the backboarded patient was transferred from the basket stretcher to an ambulance stretcher without need of further packaging; saving still more time!

After ground transport to a local hospital, the 4-wheeler's passenger was treated for her injuries and released. However, after being stabilized at the Tonopah Regional Medical Center, the ATV operator was flown by a medical ICU fixed wing aircraft to a trauma center in Reno for treatment of his more serious injuries.  At last report both patients are recovering.

Established in 1964, the all volunteer Nye County Search & Rescue  is based in Tonopah, Nevada. For more information about Nye County SAR -- Tonopah Unit, contact Rick Motis at: rdmotis@frontier.com.

For more information on 'All Terrain Res-Q' contact Mike Brady at: EEResQ@cs.com .

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For more more information please call:  859-359-4502.


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