What Does BZ Mean?

Bravo Zulu when conveyed by flaghoist, morse code, or voice comms at the end of a mission means Well Done. It was introduced between allied forces in World War II.

This blog is a BZ to you.





How Larimer County SAR is Accelerating Mission Responses with D4H

Larimer County, situated in the picturesque North-Central Colorado on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, attracts millions of visitors annually. With its breathtaking landscapes, the region is a favorite destination for adventure seekers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts. However, a few visitors each year will find themselves lost, injured, or stranded in remote areas. The Larimer County search and rescue team stands by ready to respond to these emergencies. Comprised of highly trained and dedicated volunteers, this team works tirelessly 24/7, 365 days a year to locate and aid those in distress within the county's vast wilderness. Join us as we delve into how they use D4H to keep their team organized and ready to respond.

Customer Background

Larimer County Search and Rescue, Inc. (LCSAR) was incorporated in 1979 in the State of Colorado as a nonprofit, charitable organization. The Larimer County Search and Rescue team are unpaid professionals, operating under the authority of the Larimer County Sheriff. The volunteer team is a search and rescue group of about 100 members, who will commonly work with their local Sheriff’s department, other agencies including park service ranger teams, and neighboring SAR teams.

Larimer County is in north-central Colorado, USA, it is on the east edge of the Rocky Mountains, with large areas of remote, rugged wilderness and mountain peaks reaching to 14000 ft above sea level. The mountains of Larimer County, Colorado are a popular destination for recreationalists of all types with millions of people visiting each year.

The highly trained team work 24/7 365 days a year responding to a wide variety of calls, from avalanches and mountaineering incidents to lost hikers and lost people suffering from dementia. On average the Larimer County SAR team will help around 4,000 people each year. They are dedicated to saving lives and educating the public on wilderness safety.

The Challenge

The Larimer County Search and Rescue team is tasked with finding the lost, injured and stranded members of the public in dangerous terrain, all year round. For the team, good organization for mission response is essential. As a large team of around 100 members, they needed a good solution for efficient data management to proactively track members’ qualifications and attendance. The team are frequently trained and tested against rigorous search and rescue standards that have been established by the Search and Rescue community.

Prior to using D4H, the team were using a combination of pen & paper, Excel or Google spreadsheets, creating hours of manual labor for the busy team. They needed a good easy-to-use solution for tracking attendance at training exercises, team events, and incidents. Further, the team’s training requirements needed a proactive way to automate the tracking of qualifications, ratings, and qualification expiry dates of members within the team.

Mission Response

When the Larimer County SAR team began to look for a solution to improve their data management they did a month-long investigation into D4H’s features, and reached out to other SAR organizations who provided good recommendations for D4H.

The Solution

The Larimer County Search and Rescue team selected and deployed D4H as their all-in-one search and rescue software platform in April of 2023.

In the past, managing qualifications for the team was a time-consuming and frustrating task that relied on manual processes. With the implementation of D4H, the team’s approach to personnel and qualification tracking has undergone a remarkable transformation.

"Qualifications tracking used to be a cumbersome process of manual sign offs on paper task books. Sign-in forms for exercises or events were often delayed or lost. Generating reports of members’ participation and qualification took hours of manual labor. With D4H that is all automated, and we can generate the reports we need in seconds."
— Mike Erickson, Situation Unit Leader, IT Committee Member & Rescue Supervisor at Larimer County SAR

The team have also benefited from using D4H Incident Management for incident planning and response. Larimer County SAR now benefits from an invaluable tool that enables seamless collaboration on deployment plans even before convening at the incident site. This pre-planning capability has significantly accelerated the process of deploying resources, expediting their mission response times and ultimately enhancing overall efficiency.

"The features in Incident Management were not part of our initial requirements list, but the team have found that system to be extremely useful for organizing our mission responses. Using D4H, our command staff can collaborate on the initial deployment plans online, before they even meet at the incident; this speeds up our deployment of resources at a mission."
— Mike Erickson, Situation Unit Leader, IT Committee Member & Rescue Supervisor at Larimer County SAR

D4H’s mission to eliminate the unnecessary harm caused by disasters, wherever humans go

At D4H, our mission goes beyond just providing software solutions; we are driven by a deep-rooted commitment to create a world where the impact of disasters is minimized, and unnecessary harm is eliminated wherever humans go. Hearing real-life examples of our software creating tangible human outcomes reinforces the significance of our mission and motivates us to continuously improve and innovate.

Working with teams like Larimer County Search and Rescue validates the importance of our mission. Their experience with D4H Incident Management just after their first internal training session on the software speaks volumes about the positive impact the D4H platform can have in critical situations.

"As we were ending the very first internal training on D4H Incident Management, a call came in for what turned out to be a 4-day search and recovery mission, involving almost 100 searchers from agencies across the state. This is the kind of mission our team sees once every 5 years. D4H proved to be invaluable at managing all of the personnel, assignments, clues, and equipment involved in the effort."
— Mike Erickson, Situation Unit Leader, IT Committee Member & Rescue Supervisor at Larimer County SAR

We believe that every successful mission fuelled by D4H strengthens our collective goal of reducing harm caused by disasters and saving lives. Together, we can make a significant difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of communities, wherever humans may face adversity.

Search and Rescue

Final comments on D4H

"We love the D4H software and community of people who have helped us get all the kinks worked out in the setup. Everyone has been kind, helpful, and responsive! D4H is far superior to anything we have previously used."
— Mike Erickson, Situation Unit Leader, IT Committee Member & Rescue Supervisor at Larimer County SAR


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