Over the past several months, a lot of great things have taken place to help shape Colorado 4x4 Rescue & Recovery’s Search & Rescue Emergency Support Team (SAR-ES) into a bona fide statewide deployable resource! Currently over 35 members strong, the SAR-ES team has collectively logged countless volunteer hours, participated in numerous meetings with local and state officials, conducted and attended a number of trainings – all in an effort to increase our professionalism and our capacity & capability to offer a niche of services to fill existing gaps in the backcountry and elsewhere.
Collaboration and cooperation are the hallmarks of any good service organization that strives to help its ‘community’. The slow and methodical goal-oriented approach to how we’ve gotten to where we are has garnered the attention of emergency management officials at both the state and local levels, as well as many sheriff's departments and even other search & rescue groups. We greatly value these relationships and intend to foster them into the future!
At the 30,000 foot level, the SAR-ES team falls within the statutory definition of a ‘rescue unit’ under 25-3.5-103 (11) C.R.S. Our volunteers are also afforded immunity from civil liability under the Colorado Volunteer Service Act, 13-21-115.5 C.R.S., so long as they are acting with good faith and within the scope of their official functions and duties of Colorado 4x4 Rescue & Recovery.
At the ground level, CO4x4RnR now has 38 members who have successfully completed training through the ICS-300 level. Just for the two trainings we've completed, this represents approximately 800 volunteer hours among all of the attendees. That is a massive commitment of personal time by a group of volunteers who chose, of their own free will, to give up their weekends to attend the classes in order to help propel the organization into the future. At the state volunteer reimbursement rate, the collective value of volunteer hours for just this class alone is near $21,500. Other trainings have been made available to members through an expanded curriculum such as Recovery Skills 1 and 2, Driver and Communications Skills, Winter Driving and Survival Skills and many more.
The team has also been incorporated into WebEOC, which is Colorado’s state resource management system. Currently listed under search & rescue resources, SAR-ES is an asset that can now be requested and deployed by any emergency management or first responder organization in the state. In concert with this, the SAR-ES team has also been added to the official state personnel credentialing system, and the majority of team members have undergone criminal background checks and been issued state search & rescue ID badges.
CO4x4RnR is also excited to have recently been accepted as an Agency Member of the Colorado Search and Rescue Board (CSRB). We look forward to involvement with the CSRB and to future collaboration with other teams and agencies! We also look forward to our SAR-ES Team joining as a CSRB member team in the near future. We can’t thank the folks at the CSRB enough for their support and all they do for the community!
Each of these things, taken individually, may not seem like any great feat. Taken collectively, however, what has been accomplished to this point is quite exceptional! The kind of collective motivation and enthusiasm for this endeavor that everyone has demonstrated, let alone the massive sacrifice of personal time needed to make this all happen, literally rivals any group of people (paid or not) in any organization out there!
A huge thank you to everyone involved!