LOCAL NEWS

Search and Rescue Teams Put Their Skills, Training To The Test in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Mar 2, 2019, 8:44 PM | Updated: 9:31 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Volunteers on Utah’s Search and Rescue teams spend thousands of hours each year on rescue missions. Two teams of those volunteers were up Big Cottonwood Canyon Saturday, putting their skills to the test.

It was part of a required recertification process they have to pass every four years, both in the winter and the summer.

With snow shoes on their feet and heavy loads of rescue equipment on their backs, fourteen search and rescue volunteers headed up in the mountains in search of four victims, supposedly trapped in an avalanche. The rescue was fake, but the winter conditions were very real.

Search and rescue team member, Stephen Smith, said it is harder than it looks.

“The snow is super deep. All your footing is loose all the time and everything requires more effort. Plus we’re carrying all this stuff on our back and we’re having to be concerned with the patient the entire time as well.”

Salt Lake County Search and Rescue Commander, Wayne Bassham, said it’s all part of the job they are there to do.

“We have people that are buried. We have victims. We have medical situations that they will have to attend to. And our job is to locate those individuals in the avalanche and bring them down safely like we would do on any other mission.”

The victims were actors and evaluators came from other search and rescue teams in the region.

They’re part of the Mountain Rescue Association, a group that provides search and rescue at no charge to individuals across north America.

“The hours that it takes to prepare this situation, the hours that it takes to train, and the fact that we can bring closure to people’s families and bring people back to one another… It’s what the MRA is all about,” said Bassham.

He said the MRA spent 126,000 hours on rescue missions in the United States and Canada last year.

Training, testing, and keeping their skills sharp is critical. Last year, the Salt Lake County Search and Rescue team alone spent almost 75 hundred hours on real search and rescue missions.

The volunteers say the test was tough, but it was a success. Commander Wayne Bassham says he’s proud of his team and he considers them family.

“Its nice to know that we have all these volunteers in the state of Utah that are willing to give up their time and their effort to provide services at no charge to the public,” said Bassham.

 

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Utah's state Route 24 on June 23, 2022. (NPS)...
Larry D. Curtis

Flood watch over popular Utah recreation areas Sunday

A flood watch is in effect over central southern Utah, through Sunday night, as thunderstorms create potentially dangerous conditions.
14 hours ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
Michael Locklear

Hundreds protest in Provo to demand abortion rights

A crowd of roughly 300 people gathered in Provo Saturday night to demand abortion rights.
2 days ago
A structure fire nearby the Rio Tinto Stadium. (Credit: Scott Jones)...
Michael Houck

Gymnastics business burns near Rio Tinto during RSL game

Sandy Fire crews battled against a 3rd alarm structure fire near the Rio Tinto Stadium during the Real Salt Lake game Saturday evening.
2 days ago
A head on crash between a pick-up truck and a car. (Credit: UHP)...
Michael Houck

Police: One man dead, one in hospital after a crash in San Juan County

One man is dead, and another person is in the hospital after a head-on crash in San Juan County, according to Utah Highway Patrol.
2 days ago
A sign hangs in the offices of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America(Photo by Mario Tama/Get...
Michael Houck, KSL-TV & Associated Press

Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Utah abortion ban

'We are forced into motherhood'; Planned Parenthood and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against Utah's trigger law banning most abortions in the state.
2 days ago
FILE PHOTO: Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is pictured at a press conference in Salt Lake City ...
Michael Houck

Utah County Commissioner clarifies ‘incorrect’ quotes used in Leavitt mailers

Utah County Commissioner Ameilia Gardner sent a statement clarifying a possible endorsement of Utah County Attorney David Leavitt sent to local residents.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Search and Rescue Teams Put Their Skills, Training To The Test in Big Cottonwood Canyon