BOZEMAN, Mont. – This year has been a busy one for those who work hard to save lives – including the Gallatin County Search and Rescue team.
In the last three months, the team has conducted more than two dozen operations, from searching for lost people to rescuing those already in trouble.
Captain Jason Jarrett, commander of the GCSAR team, said this time of year will always be busier for his team, who have responded to over 30 missions since January.
Many of those cases landed in February.
Still, they are ready for more.
“It is busy, especially in West Yellowstone this time of year,” Jarrett said.
For Capt. Jarrett, having all of the tools to be ready at a moment’s notice is a part of his team’s routine.
With 17 rescues and 14 searches this year, so far, and with Gallatin County’s terrain – he says it isn’t over.
“We certainly do have a good snow year this year and that snow year has messed up some people who are especially from the flat-lands that are going to West Yellowstone, which is a world-class snowmobile destination, but it’s some places that they would normally be able to power out of with their big machines,” Jarrett said. “Mother Nature is sticking them in a hole and saying you are staying right here.”
That’s why he said Gallatin County Search and Rescue has over 150 active volunteers, county-wide.
“They get a little fatigued but those guys are really spectacular to be hanging out with,” Jarrett said. “They really know their business. They’re incredibly dedicated and they’re there year after year.”
Jarrett said out of the 31 search and rescues that have happened this season, so far, most of them involved people who were already prepared for the elements.
He said they were just having a bad day.
Either way, it pays to be prepared, also helping out crews in doing so.
“That percentage of people that have a bad day creates our activity for us.”
The worst case scenario is always a possibility — something Jarrett said his team has embraced no matter the scenario.
“It’s the quality of life safety net that we are here for and the volunteers are absolutely wonderful world-class people,” Jarrett said. “They’re really skillful, some of the best in the world at what they do.”
As always, Captain Jarrett added the best things that you can do to help prevent the worst comes down to three steps — know your limitations, know the terrain and take a partner.