Letter: Search and Rescue asks residents to recreate responsibly
Dear Routt County residents,
Routt County Search and Rescue is asking all county residents to please adhere to the stay-at-home order issued by the state of Colorado. The order does not prevent people from going outside — which would be a horrible burden to all of us who live and recreate in this beautiful area — but we do ask that everyone recreate responsibly during this restricted time period.
We all love being outdoors, and right now, cabin fever is driving many people into the backcountry. We get it. We feel the same way, but here are some things to consider before you venture too far away from home:
Rescuer safety: Rescues require us to work within inches of each other for potentially hours. Some of us may have the coronavirus and show no symptoms causing us to risk our fellow rescuers. Some patients may also have the virus, which again places our rescuers and their families in harm’s way. Additionally, every time we respond to a mission, we risk physical injury.
Ability to reach the trail: Lately, many trailheads have been very crowded, and this means we are potentially unable to get our rescue trucks anywhere near the access points we need to perform a timely rescue.
Hospital overload: Hospitals are already overwhelmed, and they do not have enough personal protective equipment — PPE — to keep healthcare workers safe. If you get injured recreating, this can take up valuable space and resources that may be needed to fight this pandemic.
Limited blood supply: Our rural hospitals do not have the blood supply that can be found along the Front Range, and backcountry injuries can be severe enough to need surgery. Please don’t risk it.
Your safety: If you are injured, requiring hospital care, you risk being exposed to coronavirus while at the hospital.
During this novel coronavirus pandemic, please be our heroes by staying home, and when the need to go outside rises, please be responsible in your actions.
Thank you, and we’ll see you on the trails and mountains when this over.
Routt County Search and Rescue
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Since late January, there have been 22 avalanche deaths in America across 16 incidents in nine states, including many in Colorado. It’s been one of the most deadly periods in recorded history.