SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Each time a call is made to search and rescue teams, nearly two dozen brave men and women answer the call.
At least 15 of them are volunteers who specialize in different rescues.
Unified Police Department told Good4Utah its team has been dispatched 10 times since the beginning of the year.
Statewide in the fiscal year of 2015, SAR Teams in Utah were called out 604 times. Those missions resulted in 1,444 people rescued.
“They are doing this out of the goodness in their heart, want to come to help the people who need the help the most,” said Joe Dougherty with Utah Emergency Management.
Last year volunteers spent 31,294 hours rescuing victims.
Dougherty adds, “For the last fiscal year we reimbursed sheriffs about $272,000.”
The reimbursement money goes to equipment, rescues and training.
“The state collects 25 cents off of every fishing and hunting license, 50 cents off of off highway vehicle registrations, 50 cents off of boater registrations,” said Dougherty.
Utah Emergency Management said 60 percent of those who need to be rescued are visitors and new to the area.
“First of all people need to be informed about where they are going,” said Dougherty. “They need to know the terrain and even hike with someone who is more experienced if they need to.”
You want to bring a charged cell phone. First aid kit with a solar blanket in case you have to spend the night in the wild. You’ll also want to pack extra food and water.
“People love to go hiking with their animals. So they need to be prepared for those pets as well,” Dougherty adds. “People should have extra food and water for their pets because we have heard sad stories of pets becoming dehydrated. They get heat exhaustion and heat stroke and even die when they are out hiking with their owners.”
If you plan on hiking or camping in Utah, first responders want you to let your loved ones know where you are going and the time you expect to be back to ensure your safety in the outdoors.
Click here to view the 2015 Search and Rescue Annual Report.