Operations

The Wilderness Rescue Team responds to requests for search and rescue services from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife through the Maine Association for Search & Rescue (MASAR), Maine’s Baxter State Park, the Maine Department of Conservation/Bureau of Forestry, and other state and federal park authorities. Service is initiated when a designated representative from one of these agencies contacts the WRT duty officer and issues a request for service. That team officer will then activate a response notifying members ad soliciting availabilty.

In order to assure that we maintain the highest level of operational proficiency, all team members must maintain expertise in at least one of three operational specialties. These specialties are described below. All team members have a solid foundation for the search specialty and some members are particularly focused either medically or technically.

Additionally, all members of WRT are specialized in wilderness SAR; as the name suggests, we operate in a wilderness context. This means we get to see some of the most beautiful areas of Maine while doing our trainings and while responding to callouts, but it also means we get some of the nastiest weather or conditions. We do operate and train 24/7/365. ¬†You can read more about each of our team’s specialties below. For more info on how we train, check out the training page.

All team members become certified as a Search Team Member through the MASAR. Search team mebers:

  • Participate in search operations;
  • Provide support during technical and medical operations;
  • Adopt, develop, or modify search protocols that are used by the team;
  • Maintain search equipment that is owned by the team.

Team members who have significant skill and experience in technical climbing and rescuing function may serve as a Technical Specialist. Technical Specialists complete additional technical training and are responsible for the following activities:

  • Accessing patients who are in locations where technical climbing skills are required to reach them;
  • Helping support personnel to reach said patients by establishing fixed ropes and climbing routes;
  • Supervising the establishment of any technical rescue systems that may be necessary;
  • Adopting, developing or modifying technical climbing and rescuing protocols that are used by the team;
  • Supervising the maintenance of all technical equipment that is owned by the team;
  • Providing technical climbing and rescuing training to non-technical team members.

Team members with Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training or higher are considered medical specialists and perform the following activities:

  • Providing primary medical care whenever required during search and rescue operations;
  • Supervising the maintenance of all medical equipment that is owned by the team.