Fri, 04 Oct 2013 22:10:22 GMT — Officers from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources wrapped up a lesson on search and rescue Friday. The three-day course, through Emergency Response International out of Washington state, took DNR officers through the woods to work together. This is no walk in the park. Twenty DNR officers from across the state spent three days improving their search and rescue skills. "If everyone is trained to a certain level, then your search and rescue is going to be a lot more effective overall," said Brett Stoffel, ERI Instructor. On Friday, the final day of the course, the officers worked on communication skills with search planes for when they find their missing person. The DNR officers each practiced directing the search plane to find them in the clearing. It's an exercise in clear communication with aircraft from the ground. "Good communication is always important just so that you're not being redundant. It makes no sense to do the same thing over and over again and search only one area versus having coverage throughout the area that the lost individual could potentially be in," said Joe Molnar, DNR Sergeant out of the Gaylord office. Instructors say that good communication is also key in working together on a small or large scale when organizations, like FEMA, may be involved. "As long as they've worked together before, put their skills together and understand what different terms and different ways of communicating mean, they can pass information really really well when it comes and when it really counts," Stoffel said. They also improved their survival skills and trained on proper ways to search through the woods, even searching for human-sized dummies.
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