Rappelling from a helicopter. Scaling a rock wall. Scouring remote wilderness areas. Diving into the Feather River. Comforting victims.
These are just some of the actions performed by members of Plumas County’s Search and Rescue Team and they are looking for a little help.
In this week’s newspaper, we are printing the first of a two-part piece submitted by the county’s search and rescue team. This first article discusses what search and rescue does and the desire to recruit more members, while next week’s piece looks at what specific steps need to be taken to become a member of the team. It’s a job that requires both physical and mental preparedness.
During the Christmas Eve accident that claimed the life of a 2-year-old girl, emergency personnel from a host of local agencies arrived on scene — the California High Patrol, Plumas District Hospital, Sheriff’s Office personnel, Quincy Fire and Search and Rescue. Scaling the embankment, retrieving the victims and transporting them to medical care took the concerted effort of all involved. It’s the sort of work one would expect to encounter as a member of a Search and Rescue Team.
It requires physical agility and strength, but also mental toughness. One responder described the difficulty of listening to a mother ask about her family while carrying a gravely injured toddler from the scene.
All of those who responded to the scene on what should have been a joyous day had to deal with the same emotional tugs. It was heard in the voices of those at the CHP office when this newspaper called for an update on the accident. No doubt as you read this all of these same entities will have been at the scene of incidents across this county as the predicted storms hit over the course of the past few days.
Some of those who respond do so as part of their work, others as volunteers. Such is the case with the Search and Rescue Team. Becoming a member takes approximately a year and entails a variety of training designed to test the mettle of those who want to join the ranks. Not everyone who begins the training completes the effort.
We can’t thank the men and women enough who volunteer their time to serve their fellow residents — whether it be on the Search and Rescue Team or a local volunteer fire department. We also appreciate the work of our local CHP officers and Sheriff’s deputies who respond to calls for assistance no matter the elements or risks to their own persons. Included in this list should be the crews from Pacific Gas & Electric and Plumas Sierra Rural Electric who brave the elements to keep the lights on throughout this county.
This could be shaping up to be a long winter. Let’s make all of their jobs a little easier by taking precautions while driving or venturing out in the elements. And let’s not take their presence for granted.