Search-and-Rescue Volunteers: What They Give Up

Search-and-Rescue Volunteers: What They Give Up

Many search-and-rescue team members are ordinary people with regular jobs. In other words – volunteers. This is also true in my novel Last Chance Rescue: the heroine (Jessie) works as a physical therapy assistant. The hero (Brad) helps out at a tiny graphics company. One SAR member is a car mechanic and another works on a ranch.

When I read about Teton County (Idaho) Search-and-Rescue’s recent mission to find two missing snowmobilers, I wasn’t surprised by the data. Of the seven members who responded to the call, two took a day off work; two closed their private businesses; one left paid patrolling duties at a local ski resort; and one left his ranch.

Getting SAR members where they need to be can be logistically challenging given this reality. Then you have weather challenges; it’s safe to say most incidents occur during less than ideal weather conditions. (They’re rarely called on nice sunny days!)’

Equipment is also a consideration; in a volunteer operation, members often utilize their own personal gear, and they must always consider the age and readiness of snowmobiles and ATVs used during search-and-rescue missions. Teton wants to update its radio and communications equipment and purchase a rugged outdoor laptop with map printing capabilities.

SAR volunteers give their time, their equipment (money!), and dedication … and they put their own lives on the line while trying to rescue others. In fact, Teton Search-and-Rescue recently lost a member in a helicopter crash while on a body recovery mission.

It makes you wonder why they do it, doesn’t it? The reasons for the characters in Last Chance Rescue might surprise you!

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