The helicopter overhead on Monday afternoon, February 16th, flying to rescue two injured climbers in Chelan County reminded me again that it has been a mild winter in the Snoqualmie Valley, with little in the way of snow pack at Snoqualmie Pass and temperatures more reminiscent of spring than winter.
As the sun continues to shine and snow rarely seems to fall, the helicopter signaled that hiking/climbing season is in full swing, which means local volunteer search and rescue teams are preparing for extra missions.
With over 100 missions logged in 2014, King County Explorer Search and Rescue (KCESAR), the largest of the eight units in King County Search and Rescue Association and based in North Bend, is readying for 2015.
In January, KCESAR announced it had secured a $100,000 grant from the M.J Murdock Charitable Trust, which allowed the volunteer search and rescue organization to begin construction a a new command and communications vehicle. \KCESAR says that new command center will improve search and rescue services throughout King County.
The new, improved vehicle will be ready for operation in June 2015. It will be larger and lighter than the current version, and will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to improve search and rescue operations for responders.
In addition to the Murdock Trust, the Puget Sound Energy Foundation, Boeing Employee Credit Union, King County Search and Rescue Association and the Snoqualmie Tribe donated to help make the new command vehicle a reality.
KCESAR is a non-profit, 100% volunteer organization consisting of 300 youth and adult members who perform search and rescue operations for the King County Sheriff’s Office. Missions include lost and injured hikers, missing person searches and crime scene investigations.
For more information, or to volunteer, visit King County Explorer Search and Rescue.