Routt County Search and Rescue responds to injured snowmobiler in Big Red Park

Routt County Search and Rescue, North Routt Fire and Classic Air Medical joined forces Saturday afternoon, March 18, to help a snowmobiler with a serious leg injury in Big Red Park.

“They were able to use their Garmin to reach out to 911, so we had a good location,” said Kristia Check-Hill, incident commander for Routt County Search and Rescue. “A helicopter from Classic out of Rawlins (Wyoming) came in and helped with the rescue and then took her to the Front Range.”

Check-Hill said seven members of Search and Rescue responded in the field, along with four members of the North Routt Fire. She said Classic Air Medical was called immediately and arrived at the location about the same time as the crews on the ground.

Those crews were able to attend to the patient and transfer her to the waiting helicopter.

It was the second week in a row that Search and Rescue has been called to help a person injured while riding in a snowmobile.

In both cases, the fact that the reporting party was able to reach out helped make the rescue more efficient. Search and Rescue responded to a call about an injured snowmobiler March 12 after someone called 911 using their cell phone. That group was able to use phones and backcountry radios to communicate with dispatch and crews that were en route to the location of the injury.

On Saturday, Check-Hill said the reporting party did not have cell phone service but was able to use a Garmin device to send text messages to 911 to report the injury, as well as locations and other helpful information.

“They were texting back and forth with dispatch because there’s no cell phone service out there,” Check-Hill said. “The text messaging feature worked out well.”

She added that information helps improve response time.

“It’s critical,” Check-Hill said of the information. “It makes the rescue go so much more smoothly, obviously for the rescuers, but more importantly for the patient. The more information we can get and the most accurate information, the quicker we can get there and help them.”

Search and Rescue is a group of volunteers who are on-call 24 hours a day, every day of the year, in any type of weather. After a busy January filled with rescue missions, Search and Rescue has only been called on once in February and twice so far this month.

Check-Hill said there is no rhyme or reason for how many calls the group receives or when the calls come in, but she said people should know that Search and Rescue is ready to help.

“That is what we do,” Check-Hill said. “If somebody needs our help, there is no charge and we’d rather have you call sooner than later.”

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