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King County Sheriff’s Office receives donated boat for marine rescue

Summary

County Council approves donation of inflatable craft that can be used for animal rescues and river searches

Story

As the first responder for a large range of situations, the King County Sheriff’s Office rescues a number of county citizens, including some four-legged residents stranded in rising waters. Thanks to legislation introduced by Metropolitan King County Council Vice Chair Reagan Dunn, the generosity of King County resident Barbara Kajiya, and the unanimous approval of the County Council, the King County Sheriff’s Office is now the owner of a 2006 Achilles inflatable boat and compatible trailer ready to be used for marine rescues.

“This donated boat will allow our Sheriff’s Marine Unit to greatly expand their search and rescue capability.” said Dunn, prime sponsor of the legislation. “Thank you to Ms. Barbara Kajiya for her generosity and to my colleagues on the King County Council for approving this legislation.

For a number of years, King County resident Barbara Kajiya has been seeking to donate the 2006 Achilles Inflatable Boat to an organization that could use the craft for animal rescues. After Kajiya connected with the King County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, that has personnel trained in technical animal rescue, Councilmember Dunn worked with King County Sheriff John Urquhart to write legislation accepting the donation.

“The Marine Unit does tremendous work on the waterways of King County,” said Sheriff Urquhart. “We are very appreciative of this donation that will only add to our ability to serve.”

A few years ago during a large flood event in around the Skykomish River, quickly rising waters left an elderly woman with medical issues and her pet dog stranded. The woman needed assurance that her pet dog could be transported safely before she agreed to evacuate. Thanks to the equipment and training of the King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue Dive Unit, both the woman and her dog were able to be safely rescued.

Animal rescues can range from saving domestic dogs and cats to agricultural horses, cows, swine, and fowl. Rescuers have specialized knowledge for handling animals stranded in water, including animal behavior during rescue, basic for aid for animals, and how to extricate, and safely transport, animals. Not all animals can be directly transported in the donated boat, but it can work to transport tools rescuers need to lead larger animals out of harm’s way.

The donated boat can also be used for human rescue, diver support, and as a platform for the King County Search and Rescue team. Search dogs and handlers can use the boat’s stable floor while the dogs have their heads on the soft inflatable side sniffing for missing persons in the water, reducing injuries and fatigue to the search dogs and making marine rescues more effective.
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