Saturday, July 8, 2017

Calm Before the Storm

The last couple weeks have been busy in the park and it has shown, I have been everywhere around the park and have even gotten to travel outside of the park to places I have never been to. Week 5 started out in the office with my supervisor working on the schedule for when the program directors were coming to visit. After I was done in the office I went on a ride along in the valley, which was an educational and eventful night. While out on patrol the Ranger and I went into one of the residential areas here in the park that houses the concessionaire employees and worked on some community policing. It was interesting to see this concept in action and not just read about it in the text books at Temple University. That night I was also able to assist the crutch out of a visitor who had twisted her ankle on the mist trail while finishing up her hike, this was great experience because the EMS professionals allowed me to help wrap the ankle and talked with me about the importance of getting EMT certified when working in a western park.
Bus Assult
Tuesday through Wednesday I got to go on a training trip with the men and women of the Special Response Team which is a team that is in the park for incidents that need a group that has higher levels of training than the average ranger has received. This training was amazing to get to watch and participate in on a couple of scenarios. The beginning of the trip called for me to wake up at 3am because we had to drive out to Sacramento to get to the training which started at 8am. From that they did training on scenarios like bus assaults, vehicle assaults, dog training, and finally defensive tactics. They were nice enough to let me go and take pictures for them while also letting me do one vehicle assault and all of the defensive tactic training. This experience was eye opening and showed me most of all how important it is to have trust in your team and also trust in your own abilities to protect yourself in a fight. From the training we drove back over to Hetch Hetchy and stayed the night in some of the park housing over there. On Wednesday morning we started off by doing active shooter training which consisted of learning how to properly approach a building, how to enter the buildings and rooms, and then what to do after the active shooter is found. I was allowed to learn all of this and then got to see it in action while playing one of the victims who had been shot. We finished the day off by touring the O’ Shaughnessy dam in case there was an attack on the dam and the SRT needed to get inside of the dam and clear it out.
Entrance to the Dam
Thursday I spent my day in the Wilderness center learning how the wilderness permit system works inside of the park and getting to talk with some of the noncommissioned rangers that go out and check for permits and food storage violations. The first hour was a lot of learning about the system they have in place, but once I got an understanding of how everything works I was behind a computer filling out permits and helping to cut down on the group that had swarmed the building. By the end of the day I was worn out and was told I could come back and work anytime I wanted to.
Top of Hidden Falls
The week finished with me working traffic at the location of our last rock slide which shut down one of the entrances to the park for a week. We have been having problems with traffic stopping in the slide area which still has some hazardous rocks that might come down. This job was hot but I made a lot of good contacts with visitors and was even told thank you by a few of them for keeping them safe and out of harm’s way.

My weekend was quick and flew by, I had one day off and spent it hiking up to hidden falls with one of my roommates and had a nice relaxing day watching the falls and laying in the shade.  

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