A rescue with a view

High Angle Rescue practice near Bailey. Seth Danner, left, and Andy Novak, right, are preparing the litter for the patient. (Photo by Daniel Knudsen)

Amid the challenges presented this year to all emergency service agencies, Park County Search and Rescue has adjusted their procedures and jumped into the fray, performing searches and rescues as diligently as ever while implementing pertinent safety protocols to protect all responders and subjects alike. 

Increased visitors have definitely brought more challenges to Park County impacting all the EMS agencies. Training, as well, has required different procedures this year to keep all personnel safe but ready to respond as a team.

PCSAR began the spring with online trainings, which allowed the team to focus on new mapping and computer programs. Computerized mapping training offered opportunities for everyone to train together online with access to mapping software on their own computers. This facilitated new training advantages which helped prepare everyone better for state of the art mapping and GPS work in the field. The team has now returned to in-person trainings, incorporating proper safety protocols, and resumed normal summertime trainings in specialized groupings.

Recently, the team participated in a joint training with Search and Rescue Dogs of Colorado and Arapahoe Rescue Patrol near Bailey. Mock searches abounded for dog teams to pursue, including one scenario with an “injured” rock climber. When the dog team located this particular subject, Park County arrived on scene and performed a high angle rescue to lower the subject to “safety.”

On Aug. 30, PCSAR successfully completed a search for a missing driver on Slaughterhouse Gulch who had crashed his vehicle. The subject was airlifted to St. Anthony’s by Flight for Life. The previous week, on Aug. 21, the team evacuated a cardiac patient off Cameron Ridge in an assist to the Coroner’s Office. Prior to these missions, PCSAR, North-West Fire, and South Park Ambulance District joined forces to locate and rescue a subject with a knee injury near Weston Pass. Our new radio system has greatly facilitated communications, allowing for efficient operations during these rescues. PCSAR also assisted Chaffee County with a search for a missing local trail runner near the Apostles. This was a multi-day, multi-agency search and PCSAR participated on the final day when the subject was located and evacuated by helicopter.

Another recent request found PCSAR assisting Alpine Rescue team with an extended carryout of an injured hiker off Mount Bierstadt. Many hands joined together to help transport the subject via the litter down from the mountain through thick willows to the trailhead. Other notable missions included working with Lake George Fire and the Park County Coroner’s Office on successful searches for missing subjects.

Park County Search and Rescue trains multiple days per month. New members are welcome at this time. If you are interested in attending a meeting or visiting with our Training Director, please visit our website at PCSAR.org for complete information. Donations are always welcome and very appreciated. We are a 501(c)(3) organization and all our funding comes from donations, grants and fundraisers.

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