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It’s National Search and Rescue Week

Post by Craig Hill / The News Tribune on May 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm with No Comments
May 18, 2010 2:06 pm

This is National Search and Rescue Week thanks to a resolution introduced by Washington democratic senator Maria Cantwell. Here’s a statement recently forwarded to me from former Mount Rainier lead climbing ranger Mike Gauthier, who is working in D.C.

Today, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) honoring our nation’s Search and Rescue personnel by designating May 16 through May 22 as National Search and Rescue Week. The bipartisan resolution was also sponsored by Senators Patty Murray, Mike Crapo, Jeff Bingaman, Barbara Boxer, Mike Enzi, Lisa Murkowski, and Ron Wyden.

“As an avid hiker and mountaineer, I take steps to prepare myself and minimize my risk whenever I pack for a trip,” Senator Cantwell said.  “But I understand that no amount of preparation can protect you from an accidental misstep or an unforeseen circumstance, and it is often the swift response of trained search and rescue personnel that makes the difference between tragedy and survival. Every day in Washington state and across our nation, these brave volunteers exemplify courage, commitment and compassion in performing their duties. Today, we have passed a small act of recognition for their heroic efforts.”

Search and Rescue organizations are composed of paid and volunteer experts in search and rescue and disaster response.  They work for military, law enforcement, and civilian organizations.  Search and Rescue personnel come from a wide range of skilled backgrounds, including pilots, mountaineers, divers, urban technicians, dog handlers, backcountry horsemen, and snowmobilers. A 2009 study reveals on average, national parks launch 11 search and rescue operations per day.

Typically weekends are busiest, and it is day hikers, young men and boaters who are most commonly in need of help. Washington state is home to three of the 58 National Parks in the United States. Early Sunday morning in Washington state, Search and Rescue workers came to the aid of a snowboarder who went missing Saturday afternoon on Mount Hood.  Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue volunteers worked through the night and helped Portland Mountain Rescue volunteers finally locate the missing man.  And just a few weeks ago, the King County Search and Rescue found an injured mountain biker near Lake Tradition.