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Members of A Londonderry Emergency Response Team (ALERT) carry a mannequin out of the woods during training inside the Musquash Conservation Area last weekend. The volunteer team hosts regular training events to keep their skills sharp should any emergencies arise. (COURTESY)

The art of saving the day

Londonderry voluntary emergency responders practice the art of saving the day

LONDONDERRY - The snow hasn't yet melted from the Musquash Conservation Area, but that hasn't stopped area emergency responders from sharpening their skills.

On Saturday morning, the volunteer members of A Londonderry Emergency Response Team (ALERT) gathered at the Hickory Hill trail head for intensive line-search exercises.

The Londonderry volunteers were joined by a Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) from Bedford, bringing the total number of participants to 30.

ALERT Vice President Colleen Monks said such training is vital for the volunteers, since line searching is the typical process used for locating lost people and property. By moving a group of emergency responders in a shoulder-to-shoulder forward movement, the volunteers can thoroughly search an area.

Monks said the training also gave team members the opportunity to practice their compass and GPS skills. Using a special mannequin, the volunteers also practiced carrying an injured person out of the forest.

Monks said the ALERT team holds regular training exercises throughout the year, with other training focused on traffic control, emergency shelter operations, road clearing and first aid.

"The idea is to be ready whenever we're called upon," said Monks, who noted that the local team regularly works at the request of Londonderry police and fire officials, as well as the state Fish and Game Department. The ALERT team doesn't self-deploy, she said, and remains under the supervision of public safety officials. For more information on ALERT, visit

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