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Donna Larson, founding member of the New England K-9 Search and Rescue, with her partner, Haven.




Search and Rescue workshop

When: Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to noon
Where: New Hampshire Audubon, 26 Audubon Way, Auburn
Cost: Free
Contact: Wanda Rice at 432-7840 or wandarice@comcast.net
Visit: nhaudubon.org and nek9sar.org 




Something’s missing...
Search and rescue groups share safety tips

03/20/14



 Meet Ditto and Blaze, two furry, fun-loving pups whose noses are key to uncovering a missing person. With their partners, Jeanne Menard and Rich Antoine, the dogs work year-round to reunite families.  

The dogs will be at the New Hampshire Audubon this weekend with Menard and Antoine, who will lead a workshop about how the New England K-9 Search and Rescue group works. The New Hampshire Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club will be represented as well. 
“One of their outreach missions is the lostproofing program,” said Wanda Rice, family group coordinator for the NH Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club. 
As part of the lostproofing program, the search and rescue team teaches families ways to keep children from getting lost, and, if they do happen to get lost, how to stay safe until they are found. 
“They’re going to explain what they do and how they do it,” Rice said. “They’ll also talk about some of their stories of finding children.”
The workshop will include a video for children to watch and a discussion after it’s played. Kids will get to see the members’ relationships with their dog partners and how effective working with a dog in a search emergency can be. 
“We use airscenting dogs. They locate by finding and following airborne human scent. They hunt the air for the person who is out of place,” said Donna Larson, a founding member of the New England K-9 Search and Rescue. “For the dog, their scenting skills are at the center of their understanding of the world. Their nose is their compass and their commitment to their handler is their meaning in life.” 
Larson said that training the dogs to help in a search will often take up to two years. Searches are conducted by the dogs and volunteers. 
Larson said the program emphasizes that when you go for a hike, it’s important to make sure you have the necessary tools before you leave your house. 
“Be prepared with a plan of action should you get separated,” Larson said. 
“The thing with getting lost is that experience in training is important. When it gets dark, that’s when people typically get lost and it leads to more medical emergencies,” said Scott Jackson, owner of New Hampshire Outdoor Learning Center. “It’s important to remain calm and to not keep walking, just keep yourself comfortable and occupied. Prevention is always the best approach. The three basics you need are a knife, a fire-starting mechanism and a compass. ... You can add to that as well, like a survival foil-based blanket to stay dry, or water purification.” 
That’s important when you’re hiking, but Rice pointed out that kids can get lost anywhere. 
“Kids can get lost in their backyard. A lot of kids will wander from their house and get lost,” Rice said. “As soon as you realize you are lost, stop moving. It’s a lot easier for the search and rescue to find you. Let them come to you.”
Rice has previously organized the workshop at Beaver Brook for the past few years. This will be its first year at the NH Audubon. 
“Part of the reason I like teaming up with other organizations is that it gets the word out to more people,” Rice said. “We often get around 40 people, mostly families. I usually like to [get it organized] as early in the spring as possible, before the hiking [and] camping season starts.”
 
As seen in the March 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo. 





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