Search and Rescue, Volunteers, Mass Casualty Incidents, Utah, Wilderness


Background: Utah County’s population growth has precipitated a surge in search and rescue (SAR) missions, including mass casualty incidents (MCIs) in remote wilderness areas. Recognizing the critical need for enhanced preparedness in MCI response, Utah County SAR sought assistance to expand the training of their medical team in MCI. This project was initiated with the primary objective of augmenting the knowledge and readiness of Utah County SAR volunteers for managing MCIs in wilderness settings.

Methods: A one-day, on-site MCI simulation event designed by the project team was held at Rock Canyon, Provo, UT, on June 24, 2023. Focused on making the MCI as real as possible, three undergraduate students from Brigham Young University (BYU) and a professional actor were simulated patients. The simulation encompassed two distinct MCI scenarios. A 30-minute debriefing and survey were completed.

Results: Fifteen volunteers from Utah County SAR actively participated in this MCI simulation. Ten (67%) affirmed that the simulation effectively highlighted potential gaps and weaknesses in their preparedness for MCI response within wilderness environments. Seven (47%) reported an enhancement in their skills, and twelve (80%) attested to the overall effectiveness of the MCI simulation as a training exercise.

Implications: Future MCI simulations should assess competencies and skills of new SAR volunteers. Utah County SAR should also conduct periodic, unannounced MCI simulations.

Conclusion: Our quality improvement initiative demonstrated that MCI simulations conducted in wilderness environments constitute an effective and realistic training methodology that significantly enhances the knowledge and preparedness of SAR volunteers.

Document Type

Master's Project

Publication Date








University Standing at Time of Publication

Graduate Student


Nursing 590R

Available for download on Sunday, March 29, 2026

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Nursing Commons