2017 BVSAR Exercise: Gibbons Creek Reservoir

Every year, Brazos Valley Search & Rescue (BVSAR) hosts an annual mock deployment exercise. BVSAR is a consortium of emergency response teams in the Brazos Valley who unite in response to missing and lost persons incidents. On Saturday, January 28th, Search Dog Network joined members of BVSAR in the annual exercise at Grimes County at Gibbons Creek Reservoir. The mock search scenario was a response to a boating accident resulting in three missing people. Response partners for the exercise included Grimes County Fire Department, Bryan Fire Department, Washington County Fire Department, Rocky Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Shiro Volunteer Fire Department, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), Citizens Air Patrol, the Center for Robot-Assisted Search & Rescue (CRASAR) from Texas A&M University, and the Grimes County Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Water rescue teams from Bryan FD and Washington County FD deployed into the reservoir searching for the victims using assistance from both unmanned water and aerial vehicles. Ground searchers and a canine team deployed on land to search the thickly wooded land surrounding the reservoir. By the end of the day, all three victims (a live volunteer and two floating rescue dummies) were located. Practicing working together in a large scale exercise is vital for all the responding teams.

A water search scenario for the exercise was useful training for the responding teams because many real-life missions in recent years have been water-related. For Search Dog Network, two ground search teams deployed to search segments near the shoreline. SDN searchers wore the self-inflating personal flotation devices from our Water Rescue pack as a safety precaution because they were near the water. The Water Rescue pack is a recent addition to Search Dog Network resources and was funded through a donation to Search Dog Network from D. Grimm Inc.

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