Search and Rescue ready to help in Montana’s backcountry

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-17 18:33:15-05

BOZEMAN – A lot of the backcountry search and rescue calls we hear about involve people from out of town — but a vast majority of the calls are to help local people.

Captain Jason Jarrett with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office says most search and rescue (SAR) calls are to help local people. He says SAR is probably the most economical public safety service we have in the county.

“The community already supports that with a mill levy universally supported in the ’80s to support SAR,” said Jarrett. “When you average it all out, it’s about four hundred bucks a call and the reason is the volunteer labor we have.

“It’s not like we are scraping the bottom of the barrel; we have the world’s best at what they do and we appreciate their willingness to support this community’s outdoor lifestyle.”

Captain Jarrett says the cost of these calls is relatively minimal when you compare it to living a sedentary lifestyle.

“We’d much rather have people out recreating than the long-term costs which are much higher down the road,” Jarrett said.

And of course, there are some safety reminders, even for those well-versed in backcountry pursuits.

“Biggest parts are, make sure you have the appropriate clothing. Make sure you have a layer to keep you dry because when you get cold and wet, it gets perilous. So you need a way to stay dry and warm,” Jarrett said.

“You need to stay hydrated, a little extra food; you have to be prepared for things to change because that’s what happens here. The weather changes, terrain changes, you change, you just blew out your knee on that rock and piece of ice you didn’t see,” he continued.

“You have to be prepared to wait and get the word out you need help and then be able to wait for it comfortably,” Jarrett concluded.

Gallatin County Search and Rescue responds to about 100 calls a year.

Reporting by Patrice Parks for MTN News