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Guatemala Mission Bound: The Training Begins

Guatemala Mission Bound: The Training Begins

David Pease

After some deliberation, they understood we needed some cars to work on. We proceeded to another base fairly close by where they worked on equipment. The equipment at this base was all 1960 to 1970 vintage. I have actually seen newer equipment at Federal Surplus that can be purchased by public safety agencies.

We were able to nail down three vehicles to at least begin our first day. We got a Jeep SUV at the front area of the base and then a van and car in two other areas. It was not the best set up, but it would have to do for this first day. We could now begin.

The basic ropes station was headed up by Joe Mancos and Jamie Smith, while the basket rigging and lowers was taught by Shannon Orndorff. The vehicle lifting and stabilizing station Instructors were Chuck Webb and Mike Arnold. Craig Salvesen handles the hand tools, with some assistance from Luke Steele and myself, and Cory Strange along with Mike Allen worked with their group using hydraulic power tools. Even though we got a late start, we were now underway. Bruce Pearce took pictures and assisted with logistics.

Cory and Mike worked with the groups on understanding basic hydraulic tools, although we only had a combination tool and small cutter. They explained how to connect the tools to the power unit and some basic maintenance. Once covering the basics of the tools, it was on to teaching them how to use them in basic vehicle extrication.

Even with the language barrier, the group picked up on things quickly. They were excellent students. At Craig’s station he was explaining the hand tools and few power tools, like the reciprocating saw and impact wrench to everyone. Then came the task of removing the roof and doors with the hand tools. His eager group made quick work of things and before the end of the day, had completed all of the tasks required. Chuck and Mike Arnold were hard at work teaching their students the fundamentals of stabilizing and lifting.

They used plastic cribbing furnished by Turtle Plastics for the basic stabilization, and then used the Rescue Jack struts for a little more advanced stabilization and lifting. During their training they would work with the vehicle on its side, and then have them roll it over and practice some more techniques. Ropes was going pretty well back at the other base with Shannon going over mechanical advantage systems and using capture prusiks on the line. This was something they had neither had in the past or knew how to do. Joe and Jamie were working with the other group on reviewing and teaching them some new knots and anchor systems. This was something they learned real quickly.


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