Rescue Teams Train for Summer Tourist Season

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Dozens of national park search and rescue teams throughout the country are in the Poconos this week getting ready for the summer tourist season.

About 60 men and women are working together to sharpen their rescuing skills.  The training took place on top of a mountain inside the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area near Raymondskill Falls.

Some are from national parks across the country, others are Navy Seals, New Jersey State Police, Special Forces and volunteers.

This training exercise which involves several agencies across the country happens once a year. The mission is to train everyone how to safely rescue an injured tourist.

"We're setting up hauling and raising systems.  What we do is set up systems in case someone falls on the cliffs and gets injured and we have to go rescue them," said Chris Kross, a law enforcement ranger with the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Kross has been a park ranger for 20 years and said the training is necessary.

"We average a dozen to 20 rescues a year.  Sometimes they fall on cliffs, sometimes on trails, sometimes in ravines.  We also have a number of drownings where we have to recover the victims," said Kross.

All search and rescue teams follow a mantra called "LAST." It means they must first "L"ocate a person.

Then they must "A"ccess the injured person. That's when the skills and training the men and women are learning come into play.

Once the person is rescued, the teams "S"tabilize the person with the help of a basket and other equipment.

Lastly, the victim is "T"ransported to a nearby hospital.

The training course lasted the entire week.

The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Search and Rescue Team also trains every month.