Report on IKAR 2022 – Montreux Switzerland

The idea of going to IKAR was suggested by Marie (FIPS president) to me to represent the Dog special interest group at FIPS. I okayed this with SARDA(Scotland) didn’t want to stand on any toes and sent the money and registration. Cost is about the same as FIPS congress if you do the practical day. The commission is run on sub-commissions Medcom, Terrestial, Aircom, Avacom and Dog Handler, you register as representing a member organization and which commission are you attending. You are allowed into any of them, but you are expected to take an active part in your official commission. There are certain presentations that are in the big hall for all to attend and all social activities are together.

There were about 500 delegates split over 3 or 4 hotels, but we all ate together except for breakfast. There was representation from Scotland England Wales and Ireland with over 35 other countries from New Zealand to Iceland. All presentations were either in English or had an interpreter. It was a surprise to see 3 familiar faces from Braemar MRT on the plane next to me and along with 2 from Tayside and Charlie from SARDA I was well looked after.

Practical day: This Is ICAR on Vimeo

The link above shows the images of the practical day, the organisers lucked out with amazing weather for a day out in the high alps. We got the local rack and pinion train up to Caux. We arrived at very small station with a small bar restaurant that had good beer at the end of the day. We then made our way round workstations – Stretcher systems for helicopters, Control IT systems, 2 Rega helicopters; one set up for Search with all the latest search tech and computers the other set up for Rescue with all the medical kit. Cave rescue rope techniques, a device to stop stretcher spin when flying dynamically, a brilliant talk on using medical algorithms in mountain rescue and a demo of Swiss Search and rescue dog training.




Day 2 and Day 3

Both these days were spent in a class room with the Dog Commission led by Swiss Marcel Meier. We had talks on case studies, training methods, multi disciplinary dogs, choosing a pup, research on injuries to dogs on searches and in training, using a bringsel in training, trends in callouts, use of drones, water search, and learning from mistakes.







Day 4

All the commissions met together in the big concert hall to hear presentations relevant to us all: the science behind development of transceivers, digital mapping of incidents, development of an oxygen system for rescuers at high altitudes – The Oxy Pac, Stress Injuries and monitoring your rescue teams, revision of guidelines for Avalanche rescue, different skills of Avalanche, Tracking, Trailing and Air scenting dogs.

Before the final dinner there was a meeting of delegates where BASP was welcomed as a member to IKAR. The final dinner was at the UCI velodrome with the meal in the centre of the track.

In all IKAR is really the “Rolls Royce” of all things mountain rescue and it is a valuable forum for exchange of best practice and networking. BASP will benefit most from the Avalanche and Medical commissions.

Kate Hunter

Nov 2022


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