Local News

DCSO SAR Gears Up For Busy Season

BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Search and Rescue is one of the busiest in the state, and calls typically increase over Spring Break. "Just obviously on the basis of the region in which we reside in, and all the activities that, not only do our residents take part in, but the people that come to visit," says Sheriff’s Captain Paul Garrison, who supervises the team. He tells KBND News the SAR unit used to experience down times. But the year-round appeal of our area means there is no longer a slow season, "I would estimate that we are probably 50/50: 50% of our call-outs are to residents that are in need of help, as well as those that are visiting from outside the region."

He expects DCSO's SAR team will see even more calls for service as the weather warms, "As we start to go into the summer, and people are more outdoorsy and they’re climbing Smith Rock or on the back trails or they’re climbing South Sister, we just find folks that find themselves in a difficult situation in need of some help."

DCSO recently purchased Sno-Cat, which Garrison says has been useful during the transition of seasons, when higher elevations still have a lot of snow, "We call it a tracked rescue vehicle. It’s been used several times already to deliver resources to that backcountry area." Last week, it was deployed to help Clackamas County’s SAR team rescue a family of six on Mt. Hood, "The fortunate thing is that this piece of equipment has its own plow blade on the front and it’s able to plow in and make a very travelable area to go through to rescue someone. So, this fulfilled that need and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office was greatly appreciative we were able to send that piece of equipment up to help them." 

Garrison reminds backcountry visitors to dress appropriately for changing weather conditions, carry water and always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. 

File photo: Deschutes County Search and Rescue and Bend Fire respond to an injured OHV rider in May 2023. 

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