SARCon Presents

A Special Two-Day Training
Presented by the Mt. Hood SAR Council and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

Sept. 22-23, 2018 • Clackamas, OR

Public Safety Training Center (with additional locations for field exercises)
12700 SE 82nd Ave
Clackamas, OR 97015 map

Cost: $20 per person

To register: Click here to register for the training and print out a waiver to sign.

Class descriptions and bios (PDF)

Class Descriptions

Search Management for Volunteers

Instructors: John Gibson, Tygh Thompson

Class description: John Gibson and Tygh Thompson are two of the most experienced SAR managers in the state of Oregon. Both are very talented and gifted instructors. They will be providing attendees with instruction in search management specifically tailored for the volunteers. Much of their material will be taken from the Ground Search Management course that both currently teach around the state of Oregon to new SAR Coordinators and will provide attendees with knowledge about what goes on behind the scenes in the SAR Command post and how to effectively manage resources in the field and put the best resource in the best location based upon their training and experience levels.

DAY1 TOPICS (Sept. 22):


DAY 2 (Sept. 23):


4WD Basic / 4WD Advanced

Sept. 22: Basic • Sept. 23: Advanced
Instructors: Ken Boell, Karl Ritchey

Class descriptions:

4WD Basic (Sept. 22): In this beginner classroom course, Boell and Ritchey, with their combined experience with off-road vehicles will discuss 4WD misconceptions, review basic 4WD equipment and capabilities, and list and discuss basic gear needed for 4WD search operations and vehicle communications. There will be a brief classroom session followed by a day of fun filled field work.

4WD Advanced (Sept. 23): In this advanced session, Boell and Ritchey will discuss environmental factors affecting 4WD SAR operations such as; mud, snow, ice, sand, rocks and water crossings. They will include vehicle inspection, maintenance and spare parts. Participants will have the opportunity to see a tire plug demonstration. Following the morning sessions, participants will be put through a more rigorous field session that will include some of the things learned from the prior days training and also will focus on some new skills.

Wilderness First Aid

Instructors: Kerry Noland, Joe Rabinowitz

Class descriptions: This training track will go in-depth on the following wilderness First Aid topics:

Trauma (Sept. 22): This session was developed because so many rescues involve orthopedic injuries. This session is aimed at giving the volunteer or BLS rescuer the tools to appropriately assess and manage a range of injuries in the wilderness. Basic concepts such as spinal immobilization, extremity fractures, dislocations of the shoulder, hip, and patella, and pelvic immobilization will be discussed. Learn to use commercial splints as well as improvising from gear in your pack. Other aspects of trauma care will include hemorrhage control with various commercially available devices, and chest trauma management. After all the traumatic injuries are managed we will discuss and practice methods to safely and comfortably package the patient for evacuation from the wilderness. Patient packaging topics will include patient lashing, insulation, and weatherproofing to keep the patient both comfortable and safe.

Medical (Sept. 22): Outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest often produces a set of common injuries and illnesses; chief among which are heat and cold illness/injury, head injuries, poisonings from plant or animal, and anaphylaxis. This is a great session for any hiker, climber, or skier, as well as a rescuer. These topics will be addressed beginning with patient assessment so that anyone can recognize, understand, and treat these commonly seen injuries or illnesses. In addition to treating our patients, we must also take care of ourselves and self-care topics will be discussed to promote positive rescuer resiliency.

Scenarios (Sept. 23): If you’ve attended the trauma and/or medical sessions, now is the time to get some hands-on experience using the topics discussed in class. This field exercise is a great opportunity to utilize a variety of medical skills taught by experience Paramedics in an outdoor setting. Topics will include triage, assessment, treatment, splinting, patient packaging, and scene communication.

Crime Scene Preservation, Evidence Collection, and Wilderness Death Investigations

Instructors: Sean Collinson, Rachel Karyakos, Ross Nakamura

Class description: Clackamas County members of the Crime Scene Investigation unit will discuss identifying, photographing, handling, and processing evidence. There will be discussion of the importance of maintaining a chain of evidence. Sergeant Collinson with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will talk about basic crime scene identification, paying attention to suspicious circumstances, and how a Deputy Medical Examiner processes a scene.

Day 1 sessions (Sept. 22):

Crime Scene Investigation
8 a.m. to noon
Rachel Karyakos, Ross Nakamura

Allowing dedicated crime scene personnel to process scenes is sometimes not possible for search and rescue personnel. This course is specifically designed for search and rescue personnel to be introduced to the field of crime scene processing and to be able to correctly apply forensic techniques to preserve, document, and collect evidence at a potential crime scene. This includes recognizing items of evidentiary value, preservation of the crime scene, crime scene photography, and sketching. Students will demonstrate their knowledge learned from a lecture environment in a hands on practical.

Death Investigations for SAR
1 to 5 p.m.
Sean Collinson

This course of instruction will discuss detail death investigations in the wilderness and speak about proper procedures when conducting a death investigation and things to consider in the field prior to removing a body from the field. The discussion will cover topics such as laws regarding deceased individuals in the State of Oregon and proper notification procedures as well as things to do prior to and after moving the deceased.

Day 2 session (Sept. 23):


Participants will have an opportunity to work a potential crime scene in a controlled scenario. They will be able to utilize the information they learned in day 1 and apply it the scenario and will also be monitored by the CSIs to insure they are properly identifying and/or processing evidence at the direction of the CSIs.

Participants will also get to work a mock death investigation scenario where they will be required to communicate with base camp for direction and then handle the actual packaging and removal of the deceased from the scene.

Meet Your Instructors:

John Gibson

John Gibson has been a Deputy with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office since 1995. Deputy Gibson has been involved with search and rescue starting as an Explorer with Multnomah County SAR in 1986 holding the positions of Squad Leader, Post President, and Advisor. In 1997 Deputy Gibson became Search and Rescue Coordinator with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He held the position of President with the Mt. Hood SAR Council for four years. He also held the position of President/Chair of the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association for seven years, and is currently the Vice Chair of the SAR Council. He is also a member of the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Search and Rescue. Deputy Gibson also instructs Managing Land Search Operations classes as well as Incident Command courses. Deputy Gibson has been involved with searching for three high profile missing children cases: Ashley Pond, Miranda Gaddis, and Matal Sanchez.

Tygh Thompson

Tygh Thompson been involved with SAR in Oregon for more than 40 years and has participated in hundreds of SAR missions. He spent 33 years with the Washington Co. Sheriff’s Office, where he was the SAR program manager for 23 years. He retired as a Sergeant in 2010. He has experience as a searcher as well as a mission coordinator and SAR program manager. He is a past president of the OSSA SAR council and has contributed to several revisions of the Oregon SAR standards. He has assisted in the development of the "Ground Search Operations Course" and has been a lead instructor in “Managing Search Operations” course for more than 20 years. Tygh has developed a number of SAR training programs for Oregon and has been a presenter at each SARCon conference. Since 2010 he has been a volunteer with Mt. Wave SAR.

Kerry Noland

Kerry Noland is a Lead Paramedic and currently works for American Medical Response NW in Clackamas County Oregon. Noland has 23 years of EMS experience and joined the AMR Reach and Treat Team in 2001. Kerry is a Team Administrator and Training Academy Coordinator for both new recruits and current members of the Reach and Treat Team. Kerry also has extensive SAR experience with the National Park Service and brings that experience to the Reach and Treat Team to increase the overall safety and success of the team.

Joe Rabinowitz

Joe Rabinowitz is a Lead Paramedic and currently works for American Medical Response NW in Clackamas County Oregon on the Reach and Treat Team. He has 17 years EMS experience and joined the Reach and Treat Team in 2009. Joe has quickly been gaining the necessary skills and experience to be one of the most reliable members and leaders of the team. Joe has been extensively involved in outdoor recreation for many years and considers himself an amateur botanist. He is quickly able to answer most botanical questions as they arise during trainings or missions.

Ken Boell and Karl Ritchey

Ken and Karl have over 50 years of Off Road experiences to draw from. Both have had numerous successful SAR missions that involved extreme off road capabilities and recovery situations. They have a goal to share their experiences to help increase off road awareness, mission readiness and mission success.

Rachel Karyakos, IAI Certified Crime Scene Investigator

Rachel Karyakos is currently employed with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as a Crime Scene Investigator where she preserves, examines, and documents evidence. Rachel works with investigators by participating in search warrants and responding to crime scenes to assist with evidence collection and preservation. Rachel is also a latent fingerprint examiner and develops and examines latent prints.

In 2015, Rachel was employed as a Crime Scene Specialist at the San Diego Police Department, and prior to that position, she was a Latent Print Intern at the San Diego Sheriff’s Department.

Rachel has an Associate of Science in Forensic Technology from Grossmont Community College in San Diego. In addition to her degree, she has attended multiple trainings, workshops, and forensic conferences, accumulating over 600 hours of crime scene related training and over 300 hours of latent print training.

Ross Nakamura, IAI Certified Crime Scene Investigator

Ross Nakamura is currently employed with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office as a Crime Scene Investigator where he documents and processes crime scenes. Ross also examines latent prints left at crimes scenes to identify investigative leads.

Ross started his employment as a Fingerprint Technician at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office in Central California, and was later promoted to a Field Evidence Technician. In 2017 Ross was hired by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Ross earned his Associate of Science in Forensic Technology from Grossmont Community College in San Diego. Ross has attended multiple trainings, workshops, and forensic conferences, accumulating hundreds hours of crime scene and latent print examination training. Ross served as a small arms repairman in the United States Marine Corps and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, US Special Operations Command.