2014 was a record year for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) volunteer search and rescue (SAR) teams. They responded to 597 missions in 2014 and saved dozens of lives. 2013 totals were 491 rescues; this year’s number represents an increase of almost 20%. This increase can be attributed in part to social media and the posting of extreme videos, showing hikers performing high-risk outdoor adventures.
These rescues involved everything from missing hikers, motorcycle crashes over the sides of highways, cliff rescues, and even dog rescues. 2014 even saw search and rescue teams assist the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History “rescue” a 14 million year-old fossil.
Due to team members’ high skill level, they are also requested to assist other counties throughout the state, from the desert to the High Sierras. Search and rescue team members regularly deploy in all kinds of environments, from snow storms to blazing heat, from sea level to 14,000 feet, even at the bottom of mine shafts, at any time of day or night. Hundreds of rescues and thousands of donated hours, all at no cost to the taxpayers.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s SAR program consists of eight teams throughout Los Angeles County with 170 reserve sheriff’s deputies and civilian volunteers who donate their time performing these life-saving rescues. They are available 24/7 and respond at a moment’s notice. Also, besides being skilled mountaineers, they are all emergency medical technicians, providing the highest level of care to anyone injured in the forest.
SAR teams perform these rescues frequently in partnership with LASD Air 5 rescue helicopter. This combination of the full-time paid air rescue crew combined with the SAR teams on the ground make the LASD mountain rescue program the most highly trained and proficient in the country.
For more stories about Montrose Search and Rescue, including the fossil recovery, visit www.cvweekly.com.