Subject: Snohomish County

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SCVSAR is Now Utilizing Drones

October 31, 2018

Beginning in late 2017, SCVSAR started to assemble a new team to enable the use of drones, which are more formally known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), as a new tool to help with searches and other missions supported by SCVSAR. The new team has been structured to follow policies that have been put in place by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office on the use of UAV’s, and SCVSAR received an official go ahead to begin utilizing UAV’s on missions in March of this year. Part of the policy that was put in place requires that the individuals who will be piloting the UAV’s be compliant with FAA regulations, which require that they pass an FAA-mandated test in addition to passing both a written and a flight test within SCVSAR. To date, SCVSAR has approved seven individuals through the pilot approval process and these are known as Remote Pilots in Command or RPIC’s. SCVSAR has deployed UAV’s on over nine missions so far this year, and on each of these missions the UAV’s are showing significant value by enabling the search of areas too difficult or too hazardous for members of our ground teams to search. In addition, we are […]

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Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue and HRT Provide Mutual Aid to Injured Kittitas County Hiker

On September 4th, Jocelyn and Keshala were hiking in the wooded hills near Rachel Lake in Kittitas County. Jocelyn slipped on the trail and fell, landing fifty feet below at the base of a small waterfall. Keshala scrambled down to reach Jocelyn, who was unconscious, bleeding and partially in the water. Keshala pulled Jocelyn from the water and, with no cell phone service, she ran down trail looking for reception. During her descent, Keshala came upon another hiker who activated his Personal Location Beacon (PLB). The hiker went with Keshala to assist Jocelyn until more help arrived. Members of Kittitas County SAR, Kittitas Medic One and Snoqualmie Pass Fire hiked in. They provided initial care, including getting Jocelyn on a backboard and placing IVs. The initial examination confirmed she had sustained multiple critical injuries. Since hiking out, even with a wheeled stretcher, would take hours, Snohomish County’s Helicopter Rescue Team was called to help. The crew of Snohomish County SnoHawk 10 hoisted Jocelyn 150 feet through a clearing in the trees. Jocelyn received additional medical care during the thirty-minute transport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Thanks to the speedy transport by Search and Rescue and excellent medical care at […]

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Spring 2018 – President’s Letter

May 4, 2018

We’ve had major changes for Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue with personnel movement in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office SAR leadership since the last newsletter. With the retirement of Sergeant Danny Wikstrom and the career move of Sergeant Scot Fenter, Sergeant John Adams will be picking up the reins. These changes were the first in a very long time and brought out a variety of emotions. As with any change in circumstances, our SAR volunteers masterfully reviewed the situation, addressed any concerns, and became resolute in our support of the decisions these fine men made. Amidst all of the change and recognition of service, there was a lingering feeling of loss that was so eloquently addressed by Mike Loney, one of our senior and very sage members. As many members were lamenting loss, Mike spoke of how we are to carry on by recognizing what has been given to us by the experiences we’ve had, the support we’ve been provided, the friendship, and the camaraderie. I invite you to read Mike’s tribute and to remember that you, our public support, are also a big part of what makes Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue what it is. Each time you […]

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Meet our New SAR Sargent, John Q. Adams

Sgt. John Q. Adams has been with the Snohomish County Sheriff since he left the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996. John served 10 years as a patrol deputy in South Snohomish County and was promoted to Master Patrol Deputy while there. He has served in Property Crimes, as a member of SWAT and as a Dive Team member. He is also a member of Everett Mountain Rescue. John has a strong interest in the wilderness of Snohomish County and began preparing to apply for the SAR Sargent position before it was open. He went on a few missions to get to know how SAR operated, learn policies and be ready when the job opened. This year our SAR Sargent for the last 22+ years, Sgt. Danny Wikstrom, retired. Sgt. Adams was ready and applied for the position. He received his appointment to SAR Sargent in February and is ready just in time for the 2018 rescue season. We look forward to working with Sgt. Adams!

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One Donation Can Make All the Difference

  Since our founding more than 50 years ago, the generosity of donors has allowed us to continue our mission to bring home the lost and missing. Donations to SCVSAR are made for many reasons. Maybe it’s because we’ve rescued a love one stranded on a mountain; you find the work we do to be worth supporting; or you are looking for a way to make a difference. Perhaps you’ve thought about making a charitable gift to us but you aren’t able to afford it right now. Virtually everyone has the power to give a gift larger than he or she ever dreamed possible. A bequest can be made through a will or trust. Or, it can simply be made by listing SCVSAR as a beneficiary of a bank account, IRA, life insurance policy, company retirement plan, pension, annuity or other instrument that allows you to designate funds to a beneficiary. Leaving a bequest through your will or trust is easy using simple language as follows (always check with your attorney to be sure that you have the appropriate legal advice): “I give X dollars or X percent or all of the residue of my estate to Snohomish County Volunteer […]

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SAR Sgt. Danny Wikstrom, A Life of Service

On March 24, 2018, several hundred friends and colleagues came together to honor and recognize Sgt. Danny Wikstrom and his many years of service to our community. Here is just some of his story, along with a very moving tribute from a long-time search and rescue volunteer. Danny was raised in Sequim, WA and he joined the Sheriff Explorers there at age 14. At 18 years of age he became a dispatcher and reserve police officer with the Sequim Police Dept. One day his friend and fellow officer said he was going to take the exam to apply to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office for work. He said Danny should come along and apply as well. Danny asked, “Where is Snohomish County?” His friend said near Everett. Then Danny asked, “Where is Everett?” and his friend said near Seattle. Off they both went to take the exam, and both were hired. Now 35 years later Danny is retiring from law enforcement, with about 21+ of those years spent with Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue. It would take a book to tell you about Danny’s career with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. We will take editorial license and condense it. […]

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10th Annual Tulalip Tribes Raising Hands Celebration

November 1, 2017

We were both honored and humbled to attend the 10th Annual Tulalip Tribes Raising Hands Celebration of Community Service where SCVSAR was featured! #TulalipTribes #RaisingHands #SearchAndRescue #ThatOthersMayLive

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My Mountain Rescue

October 30, 2017

  Along with three friends, all of us but one, retired physicians, I hiked into the Enchantments via the Snow Creek route where we spent the night at one of the lower lakes in the area. We awoke to a beautiful morning and decided to hike up Little Annapurna, choosing a route off trail which appeared to be an easy hike. As we walked along, boulder to boulder, I misjudged a step onto a rock in a shadow, made even darker by the sunglasses I was wearing. The rock had more of an angle than I realized and was still wet from the morning dew. I fell forward with my left leg completely extended, catching it on a rock about a foot below. I felt a pop, and it was then, that I knew I wasn’t walking out of there. At this point the pain was manageable but I couldn’t bend my leg. We all had two bars on our cell phones but we couldn’t call out. Peter took all the cell phones and hiked to the ridge top for better reception. In the meantime, Gary hiked back to camp and brought my equipment up in case we had to […]

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Meet Our Swiftwater Rescue Team

Among our other technical rescue specialties, SAR has a dedicated team that is trained and equipped to perform searches and rescues in our hazardous water environments. Waterways in Snohomish County are scenic destinations that offer excellent recreation opportunity, and are critical to the environment. But water features can be as dangerous as they are magnificent. The Snohomish County SAR Swiftwater Rescue Team is trained and equipped to accomplish search missions and conduct rescue missions in, around and under our area waterways: • Puget Sound shoreline and tidal areas • Arterial river systems (locally Skykomish, Snohomish, Stillaguamish & Sauk) • Dozens of large and hundreds of smaller tributaries • Frontcountry and backcountry lakes in their hundreds • Technical watercourse/waterfall terrain (typically involving rope access & transport) Like other elements of Search & Rescue, Swiftwater Rescue is on call 24/7. The Swiftwater Rescue Team is made up entirely of volunteers who dedicate considerable time and effort to being well trained and equipped so that we can perform our rescue mission when called upon to help others in our community. In addition, our team is a critical component of area emergency response during flood conditions. The nature of water rescue is that we […]

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Lingering Snow Creating Dangerous Conditions for Unprepared Hikers

June 14, 2017

SEATTLE, Wash. – Search and rescue teams across the region spent the weekend responding to hikers in trouble. To read the original KOMO article by Kara Kostanich in its entirety, please click here. Then, Tuesday afternoon a team was called to help three stranded hikers at Rattlesnake Ledge, but as the team was arriving the group was able to self-rescue. “We’ve had several calls, almost every day over this weekend we’ve had several calls for service,” said Alan Labissoniere, a volunteer with King County Search and Rescue. The Snohomish County Search and Rescue team has been on seven rescue missions since Saturday. On Monday teams in King County rescued an injured hiker from Gem Lake area.   “I’ve definitely seen people hiking up into pretty remote areas in tennis shoes, cotton jeans and t-shirts,” said Steve Smith who is a Climbing Education Manager at the Mountaineers. “When that stuff gets wet up high it does not hold an insulating value at all.”   At the Snow Lake Trialhead near Snoqualmie Pass, hikers Jaime Siridakris and Ashley Daneker admitted lack of gear was their mistake on the trial. “There a lot of snow,” said Daneker. “Nikes are not the appropriate foot wear […]

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