Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office: Helicopter training at Lake Mendocino this weekend

The Mendocino and Napa County Sheriff’s Offices have announced that Search and Rescue Helicopter Awareness Training at Lake Mendocino this weekend will limit hiking trail access from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening.

In recent years, there has been an increase in extended search and rescue, or SAR, missions in mountainous terrains across California that are difficult to access, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported.

These searches often require logistical support and depend on aviation in cases of lost people or injured searchers. So, California State SAR coordinators and the California Office of Emergency Services have called for more air assets to assist from cooperating agencies, including the California National Guard, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office.

Air assets typically assist in deploying or extracting resources to remote areas or provide medical extractions (hoist) to people who have been injured, the MCSO said in a press release. A similar training held at Lake Mendocino last year was successful, so it was expanded to benefit more SAR teams across the state.

In addition to wilderness SAR missions, these allied air assets can be called to assist other emergency response personnel during incidents involving emergencies, natural disasters and law enforcement missions, the MCSO said. This assistance is provided as a mutual aid support system and can include providing critical transportation of personnel, medical and general evacuation, logistical supply, searching from the air and technical night search capabilities using Forward Looking Infrared cameras.

The joint training effort will use the National Guard CH47D Chinook, U/HH60 Blackhawk, UH72A Lakota, the Cal Fire UH1H Super Huey and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Bell 407 helicopters.

Friday afternoon through Sunday evening, people near Lake Mendocino and the Ukiah Valley will see an increase in helicopter activity. Access to the South Lake Mendocino Wildlife Area, including all hiking trails south and east of the Lake Mendocino Dam, will be limited due to safety concerns.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com

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