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Courtesy of Weber County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue

Who pays for search and rescue operations?

By Mori Kessler, St. George News  |  Posted Apr 17th, 2017 @ 12:14pm


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ST. GEORGE — No matter the time or place, volunteers with the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team and other responders answer the call to look for and help the missing, the lost and the injured. These vital operations often give rise to questions from the public about how they are funded and paid for.

The search and rescue team comprises 60 volunteers who work with a mix of their own personal equipment and items and materials supplied through the Sheriff’s Office. Sometimes a medical helicopter such as Intermountain Healthcare’s Life Flight or an ambulance service is called in to aid in a search or respond to a medical situation.

There are public and private sources of funding and rules laid down on how that money is to be used. However, make no mistake, the cost of a search and rescue mission is far from the minds of volunteers and others when called out to look for someone, be they missing, lost or injured.

“I never consider how much it’s going to cost. I don’t care,” said Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Cashin, who acts as the liaison between the Sheriff’s Office and the county’s search and rescue team. “We’re trying to save a human life here and I don’t consider the cost of that,” he said.

Money used to purchase general equipment, repairs and supplies used by the Washington County Search and Rescue teams comes from public funds taken from a part of the fees paid toward registration and renewal of off-road vehicles and boats, as well as fishing and hunting licenses.

The public funds are used to cover costs as much as possible, yet it sometimes isn’t enough. This is where private funds garnered through donations and fundraising comes in. One of the ways people have shown their appreciation is by donating money to the WCSAR team.

To read the full story, visit St. George News.

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