29 countries at search and rescue conference | TahoeDailyTribune.com

29 countries at search and rescue conference

Griffin Rogers
Two speakers in a Harveys Resort and Casino conference room conduct a presentation on mountain rescue Wednesday during the 2014 ICAR-CISA Congress. The annual conference came to the U.S. this year for the first time in its 66-year history.
Griffin Rogers / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Hundreds of search and rescue professionals from 29 countries are getting ready to leave Lake Tahoe’s South Shore today, after spending most of the week brushing up on current mountain rescue procedures and alpine medicine techniques.

They were attending the 2014 ICAR-CISA Congress, held at Harvey’s Resort and Casino from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10. The International Commission for Alpine Rescue holds its annual congress at a different location each year, but chose to come to the U.S. this year for the first time in its 66-year history.

About 325 people attended the congress, with participants coming from Norway, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Britain and beyond.

On Monday, the group took a trip up Heavenly Mountain Resort for a hands-on activity. “Avalanche rescue” was the theme.

The rest of the congress, however, was spent mostly indoors, where participants could learn about best practices while exchanging information regarding rescue operations.

Dan Hourihan, the Mountain Rescue Association organizing committee chair for ICAR 2014, said there are many benefits to the congress — collaboration is one of them.

“At the end of the day, it’s about strengthening the bridges between mountain rescue around the world,” he said.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit assisted the MRA in hosting the congress.

The 2015 IKAR conference will be held in Ireland.

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