AMRG does not provide training in basic outdoor skills or how to be technical climbers/mountaineers. What we do is take people who have a good foundation in backcountry skills and teach them how to apply and expand upon those skills to serve as a search and rescue team member. Our expectations are fairly high and our training and requirements are extensive because safety is the number one objective of all search and rescue operations. Approximately 12–18 months of regular training participation is required by new members to become fully familiar with group standards, procedures, and personnel. New members are involved in all practice sessions and in actual missions to the greatest extent possible while remaining consistent with group safety requirements.
AMRG generally trains three days per month, September through May. The monthly training cycle generally consists of:
- First Thursday of the month, 7–9 p.m.: General business meeting followed by a classroom training session
- Second Thursday of the month, 6–8 p.m.: Team training session, classroom or field
- Second Saturday of the month, full day: Field training session (sometimes these are two days, Sat. and Sun.)
Additional training classes and field training scenarios are often scheduled by the various AMRG SAR certification groups or are made available through the Alaska Search and Rescue Association (e.g., SAR Tech II courses).
All prospective members are also required to complete the AMRG Basic Training Course in order to become an operational member. Basic Training covers AMRG operational procedures and equipment in a series of three-hour training sessions held one night a month, as well as a couple of key field training events.
The AMRG Basic Training topics include:
- Basic group procedures and protocols (callouts, reporting, safety standards, etc.)
- Introduction to the Incident Command System (ICS)
- Incident Command Post set-up
- Helicopter safety and familiarization
- Organized avalanche rescue
- Ground search techniques and basic search management
- Group-specific radio operations
- Group-specific equipment inventory, maintenance, and deployment
- Wilderness first aid standards for subject assessment, stabilization, and transport
- River crossing and rescue techniques
- Basic litter operations (trail/low-angle travel, subject loading, etc.)
- Overview of AMRG rope rescue techniques and standards
LOCATION AND DIRECTIONS
All basic training, classroom team training, and monthly membership meetings take place at the AMRG SAR Cache, located on the grounds of the Alaska State Trooper Complex at 5700 East Tudor Road (on the south side of Tudor at the intersection with Boniface.) East of the complex (mountain-side) there is a side road that accesses buildings behind AST. Drive back toward a gate in front of a tan/brown sheet-metal building, address 5848 East Tudor Road. Park in the lot in front of the building and go in the brown metal door just to the left of the big, white garage door. Both the gate and the door are often closed and locked, and you may need to coordinate with an existing AMRG member to gain entry. Once inside, turn right past the vending machines, go through the door into the garage, and up the stairs to the mezzanine.