The King County Council issued a Proclamation this afternoon announcing October 5-11, 2015 as “Search and Rescue Volunteer Recognition Week.”
The King County Sheriff’s Office and The King County Search and Rescue Association (KCSARA) have had a long term partnership spanning decades. KCSARA currently has approximately 500 trained volunteers that respond to missions in King County and outside areas when requested
The volunteers work under the direction of the Sheriff’s Office which has one full time Search and Rescue deputy and small group of deputies on call to assist in coordinating the search and rescue volunteers.
“Our volunteers are the backbone of our search and rescue efforts”, said Sheriff John Urquhart. “They help provide leadership in the field and are also the ones on the ground. They look for the lost or missing people in both urban and backcountry environments as well as help rescue and carry the injured out of the mountains.”
KSCARA is comprised of 8 different units which include King County 4x4 Search and Rescue, King County Search Dogs, King County Explorer Search and Rescue, Seattle Mountain Rescue, SAR Incident Support Team, NW Horseback Search and Rescue, Pacific Northwest Trackers, and Ski Patrol Rescue Team.
Last year KCSARA volunteers responded to 134 missions totaling over 18,000 mission hours. “In 2014 we had over 52,000 training hours, “said KCSARA President Glenn Wallace. This is nearly three times the amount of hours we spent on missions. ‘Volunteer ‘doesn’t mean amateur. Our volunteers are highly trained at what they do.”
KCSARA is a non-profit organization. They obtain some of their equipment from donations received but most equipment is purchased by the individual volunteer. “Imagine if the 18,000 mission hours last year were not volunteer hours but had to be paid for by the tax payers. We provide a valuable service not only to those who we are searching for but for the citizens of King County. "