Hey, Mendocino, Sheriff Says Don’t Worry About Those Helicopters

Public Service Announcement from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to announce a joint training effort between the California National Guard, Cal Fire, Search and Rescue Teams from Lake, Napa, Marin, and Mendocino Counties, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. This training will occur on July 12th and 13th, 2016 around Lake Mendocino and around the Cal Fire Station at Howard Forest.

In recent years California State Wilderness Search and Rescue professionals have seen an increase in extended search and rescue (SAR) missions in difficult-to-access, mountainous terrain, across California. Many of these incidents have occurred in Mendocino County or in Counties adjacent to Mendocino. These searches often require a large commitment of advanced SAR teams and significant logistical support that must be brought to the scene. These SAR missions are also often dependent on aviation resources to insert and extract teams and to be available to provide rescue support in the event of injured searchers or lost persons.

As a result California State SAR Coordinators, with the assistance of California Office of Emergency Services, have drafted a plan or guideline to be presented to the California State Sheriff’s Association for adoption. Part of this plan calls for a more formal plan involving air assets of cooperating agencies, such as the California National Guard and Cal Fire, to assist in deploying or extracting resources to remote areas and or to provide medical extractions (hoist) to injured subjects, either the missing/lost persons or searchers.

In addition to Wilderness SAR missions the National Guard and Cal Fire can be called to assist other emergency response personnel, including law enforcement, during incidents involving emergencies or natural disasters and law enforcement missions. This assistance is provided as a mutual aid support system and can include: providing critical transportation of personnel, medical evacuation, general evacuation, logistical supply, and technical night search capabilities using Forward Looking Infrared cameras.

This Joint Training Effort will utilize helicopter resources and crews from the California National Guard and Cal Fire specifically to train Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue teams in the capabilities of and safe operations of their respective helicopter platforms. These helicopters will include the following: the National Guard CH47D Chinook, U/HH60 Blackhawk, UH72A Lakota, and the Cal Fire UH1H Super Huey.

Starting on July 11 the public will see an increase in helicopter operations regarding this training exercise in the area of Lake Mendocino, around the Ukiah Municipal Airport, and on the Ridgewood Grade near the Cal Fire Station.

For Safety reasons during this training the US Army Corps of Engineers has closed the South Lake Mendocino Wildlife Area, including all hiking trails east of the Lake Mendocino Dam to the general public. These areas will re-open on Thursday July 14, 2016.



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