PSAR (Preventive Search and Rescue) in practice is
visitor education about the hazards and
risks associated with wilderness hiking,
climbing, camping, and swimming in general... and Yosemite in particular.
Cal-ESAR PSAR Mission
volunteers for PSAR, it is our mission to educate visitors about potential hazards with a focus on personal safety and
mission does NOT include enforcement of
goal of education and promoting safety in a proactive manner (before the
activity begins) will help reduce visitor accidents requiring NPS Search and
want to avoid generating SAR responses at all costs.
Cal-ESAR PSAR Goal
Maintain and expand out relationship with NPS as a valued partner
by setting the standard for professionalism, training and performance by which
all other PSAR volunteers, organized units or individuals, are measured.
For those of you that have never worn the uniform of an
authority figure in public before you are about to have an eye opening
When you are in uniform you are representing Cal-ESAR to NPS
and NPS to the public.
Park visitors commonly identify us
as ‘Rangers’ and we are likely to be the visitors only “NPS” contact during
their stay. While there is no denying that many of you will find a certain
gratification in that, it also implies a very large and real responsibility to
live up to that image. The visitor’s perception is their reality.
- Remember the manners that dad & mom taught you, universal politeness and
respect for all visitors and peers at all times are minimum standards.
- If you were a Boy Scout…Trustworthy, loyal, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful,
etc. is the way to go.
- When you take a break keep in mind the public thinks they are paying us. (ex:A cat nap in clear view of public is not the way to go)
- Language- No offensive language and certainly no F bombs on the
- Absolutely no alcohol consumption or use of illegal substances of
any kind while in uniform and in the park.
- Active status with unit
- Current Medical training: Basic First Aid w/ CPR – minimum req or
better. (First Responder, WFR, etc.)
- Completed PSAR cert class and two 8 hr. shadow missions.
- NPS Volunteer Service Agreement 301a on file with NPS. (+ parent consent if under 18)
Theme: Self-Responsibility! You are responsible for yourself, be prepared, be aware of your surroundings (weather, time of day, sunset, etc. fitness level of yourself and others in your party) make good decisions. Unless it is a case of life, limb or eyesight a helicopter is not coming for you!... and even then it doesn't fly at night or in bad weather.
- Stay on the trail, stay on the trail, stay on the trail...
- Stay away from moving water (can’t swim in aerated water) high this year
- Never shortcut - especially on switchbacks
- Hydration (what are your early signs of dehydration?)
- Snacking - light, easy-to-digest salty (to replace salts lost from perspiration)
- Leave a travel plan with a trusted person
- Time of return
- Carry your 10 essentials (emphasize flashlight/headlamp, rain shell)
Cal-ESAR PSAR Field Operations
of Operational Focus
- Mist/JMT train Corridor from Happy Isles to Nevada Falls
- Yosemite Falls trail
- 4 Mile trail
- Mirror Lake
- Panorama Trail, Glacier Point to Nevada Falls.
- We're the on
trail ‘411’ for all things Yosemite related.
with visitors to help them determine an appropriate activity based upon their
preparedness, abilities and desired destination or goals
visitors of dangers/hazards and limits based upon location, time of day,
weather forecast, trail conditions.
of trail dependent dangerous “hot spots”
or wading above falls or rapids
on slabs or outcroppings
to verbally persuade visitors to reconsider their activity
visitor contacts- very important for NPS PSAR and Cal-ESAR
contact: directions, hiking advice,
logistical questions, park policies and natural/cultural history
contact: interventions, separated
parties, off trial hikers, plan changes based upon advice given, visitor assist
Hours of operation: generally 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
- Our customers are usually not out in numbers
before 9:00. Business picks up from mid AM to early afternoon when hikers start
heading up, and early bird tired ones, head down the trail. Especially Half Dome hikers
coming down JMT at end of day.
- This does vary by trail. If you’re covering Yose Falls or 4 Mile
you’ll want an earlier start to compensate for the longer, tougher climb out of
the Valley. Panorama is a 8 mile hike, considering traffic you’ll want to get a
ride to Glacier Point so that you can make it to Nevada Falls by ~ 2:00 PM.
Check in / out with YOSAR office
in / out at start / end of day on white board in YOSAR office OR clipboard
outside if office is locked. YOSAR office is across the street from the school
playground. This is not necessary for unit operations on holiday weekends. Check in/out will be at the unit level.
- Our radio communications are limited to our
Valley Local frequency is fine, but only under truly life threating circumstances, and cell phone communications is not
available, should you ever transmit over this frequency.
- For holiday weekends when Cal-ESAR is operating as a
unit the daily briefing will cover the internal unit communications plan.
Transportation within the Valley
- Valley traffic is usually a bear. (get it J ) Here
are the ways to mitigate it.
- 4 Mile Trail – walk the ¼ mile to trail head
- Yose Falls Trail - Walk to Swinging Bridge,
cross bridge and meadow to Camp 4.
- Mist / JMT / Mirror Lake trail heads-
- Bring a bike and ride it.
- Car pool if with a team
- Take the bus
- Drive- If you drive to Mist/JMT you can park
on the access road behind the Happy Isle bus stop. Park at the handicap area a
few hundred yards up the road. Place your unit ID on your dash and even better
have SAR magnet signs on your driver’s door.
vehicle lane access: During busy times NPS blocks off
the left lane of North and South Drive for ‘Authorized Vehicles Only’. When
returning to Yellow Pines after a PSAR mission we are authorized to use the
‘Authorized Vehicles Only’ lane ONLY under these circumstances:
- Your vehicle has “Search and Rescue” magnetic
signs on front, back and drivers door.
- Your wearing tan uniform shirt and it’s
clearly visible to traffic ranger directing traffic.
- This is a professional courtesy and a privilege; avoid even
the remote appearance of abusing it.
Cal-ESAR PSAR –
non-holiday visit Process
and sign up on Cal-ESAR web site / PSAR section
- Solo missions by adults on Mist/JMT, Yosemite Falls, 4 Mile, Mirror Lake or ok. Solo missions must sign in/out at Yosemite SAR office.
- Youth members must be accompanied by adult members of the unit on any PSAR mission.
will be arranged for Yellow Pines, the more advance notice the greater your
chance of getting space!!
get confirmation of space at Yellow Pines and a gate pass before you're cleared to go.
- Members are welcome to bring immediate family and close friends to share their campsite as long as extra camping or parking space is not required. Family and friends can accompany them on the trail as long as they do not distraction your attention from the public. (a independent spouse or friend can be fine, a small child is a no go)
- Do some good and enjoy the valley!
If a Real Emergency Situation Develops
- Assess the
situation and communicate to the Cal-ESAR IC, unless
- The emergency
involves a subject in the river (under no circumstances should you attempt a swift water rescue)
- CPR is in progress
- Cal-ESAR IC is not
- If any of these situations contact Yosemite Dispatch
directly (911) via cell phone or radio with the following information
- Incident type
(missing child, person down, fire, rockslide, etc.)
- Reporting party
- If relevant, vehicle
description and where parked
- Scope of incident
- Number of injured
or involved subjects
- Severity of
injuries, if any
- Size of fire /
rockslide / etc.
- Your plan for
reaction to the incident
- Maintain visual
contact with incident or reporting party
- Provide aid if safe
and reasonable to do so
- Mitigate expansion
of the incident if practical
- Trail block /
- MAINTAIN RADIO/CELL COMMUNICATION
WITH IC OR DISPATCH
Below are some valuable links to resources for PSAR...