NM Search & Rescue Review Board
When the Search and Rescue Act was put into law in 1978, the Act created the New Mexico Search and Rescue Review Board. A Governor-appointed board that evaluates the operation of the New Mexico Search and Rescue Plan, problems on specific missions, and makes recommendation to the appropriate authorities.
The board is comprised of:
- The Secretary of Public Safety or designee
- The Secretary of Health and Environment or designee
- A representative of the Civil Air Patrol division of the Department of Military Affairs
- A representative of the New Mexico Emergency Services Council
- A member certified as a search and rescue person
- A member of the New Mexico Sheriffs Association
- The Chief of the New Mexico State Police
- The New Mexico Search and Rescue Resource Officer (non-voting)
- A member of the general public who shall act as chairman
SAR Review Board Members:
- Mr. Stock Colt, Chairman
- Deputy Chief Pete Kassetas, New Mexico State Police
- Major Mark Umprovitch, New Mexico Department of Public Safety
- Mr. Kyle Thornton, New Mexico Department of Health
- Major John Gravel, Civil Air Patrol
- Mr. Duane Clark, New Mexico Sheriffs’ and Police Association
- Ms. Frankie Benoist, New Mexico Search and Rescue
- Mr. Bob Baker, New Mexico Search and Rescue Council (formally New Mexico Emergency Services Council)
- Mr. Bob Rodgers, New Mexico State Police, Search and Rescue Resource Officer
The SRB will meet at 9:00 am on January 24, 2014 at the New Mexico State Fair Grounds, Albuquerque
Agenda Items for the January 24th meeting will be matters relating to department policy pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 24-15A-6.
Copies of the agenda will be available 48 hours prior to the meeting. If you desire a copy, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of a reader, amplifier, qualified sign language interpreter, or any form of auxiliary aid or service to attend or participate in the meeting, please contact the Department of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue Bureau, at 2501 Carlisle Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110 or 505-841-9297 as soon as possible.
New Mexico Search and Rescue Review Board
October 25, 2013
Draft Meeting Minutes
(These minutes have not been yet approved by the SAR Review Board
and therefore are subject to revision at the time of formal approval.)
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Major John Gravel at 9:10 a.m., at the African American Performing Arts Building located on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, NM.
- Members Present:
Frankie Benoist, Certified Member of Search and Rescue
Bob Baker, New Mexico SAR Council Representative
Major John Gravel, Civil Air Patrol Representative
Bob Rodgers, SAR Resource Officer
Kyle Thornton, Department of Health
Major Adrian Armijo, Special Operations Officer, NM State Police
(Major Armijo replaces Major Umprovitch, who recently retired from the State Police.)
Stock Colt, Chairman
Duane Clark, Sheriffs and Police Association
Chief Pete Kassetas, Chief of the New Mexico State Police
A quorum was declared present
- Consent Agenda:
In regard to the draft Minutes from the July meeting, Mr. Bob Baker noted the number of volunteers that attended ESCAPE 2012 was 200 and not 500. Also, last year’s event was held in Ruidoso, NM and not Alamogordo. Ms. Frankie Benoist made a motion to accept the corrected July meeting Minutes; it was seconded by Mr. Bob Baker. The motion carried unanimously.
The agenda for today’s meeting was reviewed, and there were no corrections or amendments.
- Resource Officer’s Report:
Mr. Bob Rodgers reported on missions since the last Review Board meeting:
- Since July 27, there have been 39 SAR related missions.
- Three resulted in deaths and two involved hospitalization; notifications of both situations were made to the Office of the Attorney General.
- Since January 2013, there have been 100 SAR related missions (at the time of this meeting there was a mission in progress in Cloudcroft, NM).
- Core Business:
U.S. SAR Detachment 1 (Alamogordo) team approval.
Mr. Bob Rodgers has emailed this team informing them that they need to have a representative present at the Board meeting. This is a break off group from Alamogordo SAR. The team has been used on a mission, and the IC’s were pleased with their performance. Ms. Frankie Benoist expressed concern about recognizing them as a “Type I” team when they have only one member who is Field Certified. Both Ms. Benoist and Mr. Baker requested that they come to a meeting to discuss their capabilities and present their training plan. Major John Gravel asked Bob Rodgers if this will stop the team from being used as a resource, and Mr. Rodgers replied it would not.
Mr. Baker motioned that the team’s membership be tabled until a team member could be present at a SAR Review Board meeting to answer questions regarding the team’s capabilities and how they plan to train. The motion was seconded by Ms. Benoist, and it motion carried unanimously.
Proposed disciplinary and appeal process.
Major John Gravel mentioned that Mr. Stock Colt wanted clarification regarding Item 4 of the ‘Search and Rescue Personnel Action and Appeal Process.’ Mr. Baker stated his intent was to ensure one unbiased SAR member and non-SAR member were present. All present decided to re-write the item for clarity, with the final result shown below:
If an appeal is initiated, the Special Operations Commander will convene a panel
to include himself and 2 other board members,
one of which must be a SAR Council member or a SAR Review Board field certified member of SAR.
Mr. Bob Baker made a motion to approve the amended item; it was seconded by Ms. Frankie Benoist. The motion carried unanimously. (The final, corrected and approved Appeal Process is provided at the end of the Minutes.)
Statewide minimum training standards/requirements.
Mr. Bob Rodgers was asked to expand on Item 5 (Establish a training program) of the Standard
Operating Procedure he proposed for new teams seeking state recognition.
He submitted a side by side current listing of the NASAR SAR Tech II and NM SAR mandatory equipment lists for comparison. He also compiled the objectives for both the NASAR SAR Tech III and NMSAR for comparison. These could be revised and compiled into a tool the SAR Review Board might use to measure whether a team would be accepted as a recognized resource. Mr. Rodgers also supplied the current NM SAR Team criteria equipment listing that is used for the Field Certification exam.
The Board members were asked to review the submitted information with the intention of discussing it and possibly voting on a set of standards at the next Board meeting.
SAR Plan revisions.
Mr. Bob Rodgers stated there were no additional comments from the SAR Community regarding the revisions. He requested the Board take a more critical look at the draft. Further, Mr. Rodgers has sent the SAR Plan to outside agencies and would like to extend the distribution out further to solicit more feedback. (To date only one county responded out of the 33 counties to which Mr. Rodgers sent the SAR Plan.)
Major John Gravel proposed the Board review this process and vote for approval during the April 2014 meeting, thus allowing time for additional agencies outside of SAR to respond.
Draft guidelines for EMS/Medical personnel and first aid givers.
Public comment during the last meeting prompted a question about what protection medical providers are offered against malpractice claims when caring for subjects during a mission.
Responding, Mr. Kyle Thornton had compiled a ‘scope of practice’ for all levels of medical certification typical of SAR responders. This ‘scope of practice’ outlined to what capacity each medically-certified responder should operate. And, it also indicated such responders must have the direction of the Medical Director for the responder’s team. He passed the compilation around the room and stated he would email a copy to Board members for later review.
Mr. Bob Baker stated that teams that have medically-certified responders typically operate under the direction of a Medical Director and have within their protocols the ‘scope of practice.’ Mr. Rodgers stated that not all teams may operate like that.
Major Gravel mentioned one issue that is not clear: if a responder identifies herself, is she allowed to practice to the extent of her scope of practice? Mr. Thornton stated such responders should carry and show their Certification Card (to whatever extent of proof of medical certification is necessary). Mr. Thornton suggested as long as responders carry their certification cards and operate within their scopes of practice that would protect them against malpractice claims.
Major Gravel asked if this would fall under the ‘Good Samaritan’ rule. Mr. Thornton responded that because SAR teams are dispatched to already known situations, the rule does not apply.
Major Gravel requested that the compilation be distributed for further review. Mr. Rodgers commented that this would fall more into the realm of policy than procedure on part of the teams. Mr. Baker requested that further discussion of this topic be added to the agenda for January 2014 meeting once Board members have had time to study the compilation.
Insurance for volunteers.
Currently the state covers volunteers up to $30,000 for medical bills if they are injured on a mission.
But, would equipment (including canine/equine) be covered in case of damage/injury while involved in a mission?
Major Armijo stated that Risk Management has requested a listing of equipment from the Board. Major Armijo mentioned that the list does not need to be all encompassing. Further Mr. Rodgers stated he would not be able to provide great detail because specialized equipment brought to a mission would vary greatly by the type of team and even among teams of the same type.
Mr. Rodgers sent a listing from the Resource Directory, and Major Armijo stated that he would have the Chief forward it to Risk Management for them to respond. Major Armijo will investigate and bring the results to the next Board meeting.
Major John Gravel requested that this item be discussed at the January meeting.
- Matters from the public:
There were no comments from the guests present
- Closing business:
Mr. Bob Baker mentioned the possibility of the SAR Review Board looking at the Token Adams mission as a case study of what went right and what could have been done better, since the mission was good example of multi-operational and multi-agency event. Mr. Rodgers stated that he was already putting an AR together on the mission. Major John Gravel responded that he was not sure this was a SAR Review Board issue.
The next meeting was set for January 24th, 2014 at 9:00 a.m., at the African American Performing Arts Building located on the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, Albuquerque, NM. The following meeting will be April 25th, 2014 at ESCAPE, which takes place in 2014 near Santa Fe. Mr. Bob Baker made the motion to accept these dates, Mr. Adrian Armijo seconded, and the motion carried unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 10:36 a.m., Mr. Baker made the motion. Mr. Thornton seconded, all were in favor.
Revised Appeal Process statement:
Search and Rescue Personnel Actions and Appeal Process
All Search and Rescue personnel actions initiated by the Office of the Chief will be handled according to the following eight steps:
- Personnel actions will be recommended by the Search and Rescue Resource Officer to the Office of the Chief, State Police, via the New Mexico State Police Special Operations Commander.
- The Office of the Chief will initiate the action with a letter of contemplated action to the affected Search and Rescue member.
- The affected member will have a period of 30 days from receipt to respond to the Office of the Chief to appeal the decision.
- If an appeal is initiated, the Special Operations Commander will convene a panel to include himself and 2 other board members, one of which must be a SAR Council member or a SAR Review Board field certified member of SAR.
- The appeal panel will listen to arguments/suggestions made by the Search and Rescue Resource Officer and affected party and make a determination.
- The Special Operations Commander will report that determination to the Office of the Chief within 10 working days.
- The Office of the Chief will notify the affected party of the final decision within 5 working days.
- All decisions from the Office of the Chief will be final.