Gardening Education Donation<BR>

Miner Photo/TERRY ORGAN

Luis Vega, executive officer of Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue, ties a figure-8 knot during a rope rescue demonstration Tuesday at La Senita Elementary School.

Fifth-grader Steven Rosa is wearing a safety harness to which the rope was attached as part of Vega's presentation to Laura Neilon's fourth-grade class and Annette McCord's fifth-grade class.

Laura Neilon's fourth-graders and Annette McCord's fifth-graders were given pointers on hiking safety by Luis Vega, executive officer of Mohave County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue.

Vega was invited to the classes because they are studying science and health.

Vega began by telling children that the search-and-rescue team often is called to look for people who make mistakes they could have avoided by adhering to four "play safe" rules.

Rule No.

1 is, tell someone where you're going and with whom and when you expect to return.

Vega said searchers looked for two men who had gone off on all-terrain vehicles and failed to return home that night without following Rule No.

1.

"They passed an entire night out in the cold and one of them had a little frostbite on his toes," Vega said.

"They had a miserable night that could have cost them their lives because they didn't tell anyone."

Rule No.

2 is, check it out.

Look for signs of danger such as rattlesnakes, broken glass or boards with nails embedded in them, Vega said.

A young man riding a motorcycle failed to check what was on the other side of a hill before jumping it on his bike.

He wound up falling into a mine and was rescued, but his bike "looked like a pretzel." Vega said.

Rule No.

3 is, leave it alone.

Colorful items often attract the attention of children.

Vega pulled a package out of his satchel that was colorful but contained blasting caps capable of blowing off a person's hand.

He also urged children to leave baby animals alone that may appear sick.

Some carry dangerous hantavirus or rabies that can be contracted by humans.

Stay put is Rule No.

4.

Vega played a video that showed news accounts of a search in Coconino County early in 2002 for two brothers ages 15 and 8.

The boys became interested in pine cones and failed to return to camp with everyone else.

More than 200 searchers from five counties looked for them with Mohave County Search & Rescue members finding the boys 10 miles from where they had bee.

last seen.

"Winds were swirling through the trees in a circular fashion," Vega said.

"The boys could hear their parents and tried to follow the sound, but it kept going around in the trees.

Instead of staying put they continued walking, making it harder to find them."

The boys had no jackets, warm clothes or sleeping bags and nighttime temperatures fell to 15 degrees.

They were found late on the second night.

Vega also gave a rope rescue demonstration.

He said search-and-rescue team members sometimes are lowered from helicopters along cliffs to put safety harnesses around stranded climbers so they can be lowered to the ground.

Vega also stressed the importance of carrying water.

The rate of dehydration accelerates when someone is stranded in the desert and begins to panic, he said.

The importance of analyzing a situation also was part of the presentation.

Vega asked the pupils what they should do if attacked by wild dogs or Africanized bees: run or walk away slowly? "If it's a wild dog, walk away slowly because he'll chase you if you run," Vega said.

"But if it's bees then run.

Mohave County School Superintendent Mike File (left) presents a $15,000 check to Barbara Kuzma, a program assistant for the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, for the Gardening in the Schools program.

Also pictured is extension agent Jerry Olson.