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University of Maine at Fort Kent to offer search and rescue course this fall

August 1, 2003

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be offering a two credit course entitled Search and Rescue Fundamentals as part of its fall 2003 schedule. The course is offered by the Academic Outreach office. Participants may also take the course for 2 hours of academic credit through UMFK's rural public safety program.

This course is ideal for emergency services and public safety personnel, sporting guides, youth group leaders, hikers, canoeists, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Participants will gain knowledge concerning the general responsibilities, skills, abilities, and equipment needed by persons who are assigned to field operations during a search and rescue (SAR) mission.

The course will run from September 9 through October 28. Classes will take place at the Fort Kent campus from 6:30 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday evenings, as well as some Saturday field sessions and one late night mock search. "It will cover the responsibilities, skills, and equipment needed to be part of a search team" said Donald Eno, director of academic outreach at UMFK. "We worked closely with the Maine Warden Service and Maine Association of Search and Rescue to design this course."

Instructing the class will be Sgt. Brian K. Gray of the Maine Warden Service, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Gray has worked for the Maine Warden Service for eighteen years and is the supervisor for the Northern Aroostook region.

"I think people will learn some valuable skills and have fun as well," said Gray. Gray is hopeful that the course will provide a core of people who can be an effective part of a search team. The Warden Service is charged with coordination and implementation of most search and rescue operations in the state of Maine.

Course participants will learn about survival techniques, navigation, communications, tracking, clue awareness, search theory and techniques. These skills will serve backcountry travelers well, even if they are never called out on a search.

The course is also designed to prepare the student for Basic Ground Searcher Certification, based on the standards of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This type of training is valuable to those seeking jobs with organizations such as the National Park Service, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and rural public safety agencies. Participants must be at least 16 years of age to take part in this course. Sixteen and seventeen year olds must have proof of parental consent.

The fee for the search and rescue course is $185 for those participants receiving no academic credity. Those wishing to receive the two credit hours from UMFK will be charged the appropriate tuition rate.

For more information regarding the course, contact Eno at 834-7835 or stop by the campus to pick up a fall 2003 schedule.