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Call goes out for new volunteers for White Mountain rescues

SUGAR HILL - The Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team is looking for new volunteer members, and will hold an informational meeting for prospective members Thursday at Cannon Mountain.

Founded in 2005 to assist in search and rescue efforts throughout the White Mountains, PVSART carries out some two dozen search and rescue operations annually.

"Our group works with New Hampshire Fish and Game and other public safety agencies in responding to search and rescue operations," PVSART president Allan Clark, of Sugar Hill, said in a news release.

"While our primary area is the western White Mountains, we'll respond to other areas as needed. We have a dedicated group of volunteers, but many operations require dozens of rescuers, and we're always looking for more members," Clark said.

The team is called out in all seasons, often in poor weather during times of unfavorable trail conditions.

Search and rescue volunteers face a wide variety of challenges, from icy stream crossings to wind, heavy rain, and snow.

The volunteers are often required to carry injured hikers down trails on a litter, Clark said.

Groups of six volunteers change out from the carrying rotation about every five minutes, depending on the difficulty of the terrain and the size of the person being carried.

Rescuers may be in the wilderness for several hours, and a larger pool of volunteers improves the chances for successful rescues.

Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue also promotes hiker safety by providing trained speakers to school groups and other organizations.

The new-member orientation session Thursday at Cannon will start at 7 p.m., and a qualifying hike for new members is set for May 18 at 8 a.m. at the Skookumchuck trailhead.

All hikers in good physical condition are welcome to join PVSART as volunteer members.

Previous first aid training is beneficial, but not required. For more information and to complete the required application, visit www.pvsart.weebly.com.

The team offers training sessions for volunteers throughout the year, including GPS training.

Upcoming training dates include a water crossing and rescue workshop on May 11 at Cannon Mountain, and a simulated rescue training on May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Echo Lake.

The team will also present a slideshow at the Lincoln Library on June 6 at 7 p.m.

bhookway@newstote.com



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