What I Learned from Search and Rescue

In lieu of this week’s “survival tip of the week,” I’ve decided to share a post by the Utah Sheriff Search and Rescue Association. The post titled “Everything I know, I learned from Search and Rescue” offers a glimpse of what search and rescue teams go through to help those in need in the form of a list of lessons learned.

While these tips are from members of search and rescue and are directed towards the same group of people, there’s no reason you can’t apply these to normal, everyday life.

  • Death smells like rotten crab.
  • If there is a trail, someone will inevitably wander off of it.
  • No matter what the medical examiner tells you, don’t stick your hand in that.
  • Searchers will do anything for free food.
  • Nothing is waterproof.
  • There are always more blackberries where those came from.
  • Just when you think it can’t get steeper, it does.
  • Unchangeable fact: wool pants itch.
  • One good team leader will get the job done, but five team leaders in a group will accomplish absolutely nothing.
  • Do not sit in fire ant nests.
  • There’s no such thing as a silent grid line.
  • There’s always a better way to do it.
  • But we’ll never do it that way.
  • Make certain your map is right-side up.
  • Duct tape really can fix just about anything.
  • Someday all the great structures in the world will be built entirely out of blue plastic tarps.
  • Everything burns.
  • Poison oak will get you no matter how careful you are.
  • When a situation seems bad, try looking at it as an “adventure.”
  • Don’t curse on the radio.
  • Two words: man goo.
  • Snow caves are not made for sleeping in.
  • Under no circumstances are hand warmers in your underpants a good idea.
  • Something always goes wrong.
  • Yes, people are that stupid.
  • If you’re not actively bleeding to death, you’re fine.
  • All trails go uphill.
  • Delegation is key.
  • Teammates are people who will share their pack food.
  • Friends are people who will share their GOOD pack food.
  • When in doubt, make someone else decide.
  • Hell on earth is Ruckle Ridge.
  • There will always be one person who asks you “What took you so long?”
  • Dead people don’t complain.
  • And most importantly: Search and rescue isn’t a job it’s a way of life.

For those interested in learning some of these lessons on their own, the Iron County Sheriff Search and Rescue team is currently looking for new volunteers. For more information on joining, visit the Iron County Sheriff website or contact the rider liaison Mitchell Quartz at mqnasa@gmail.com.

Story By
Mitchell Quartz