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Search and Rescue

Providing Assistance in Outdoor Emergencies

Chelan County provides many year-round outdoor opportunities. Often, recreationists become lost, injured, or face other emergencies that require search and rescue assistance. The Chelan County Sheriff's Office by Washington State Law is responsible for all search and rescue incidents. The Sheriff's Office maintains the Special Operations Search and Rescue (SAR) Unit as its primary response resource. The unit is composed of full-time office employees who are trained in the Incident Command System, SAR management, outdoor survival and navigation, and the use of specialized equipment and modes of transportation. Unit members are equipped to serve individually as Incident Commanders, and are collectively available for immediate response to assist victims in isolated or difficult terrain and wilderness areas as a team. The SAR Unit coordinates closely with the Chelan County Volunteer Services, and other volunteer SAR groups..

Current Information

Winter Recreation Safety

The winter season is now upon us, and with it brings snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding. Much of this activity takes place in areas that are subject to extreme weather conditions and high avalanche danger.

We want you to have a quality back-country winter experience. Consider the following, so that you can avoid becoming a search and rescue victim:

  • Never travel alone.
  • Always let someone know where your group is going, and when you're to return.
  • Be aware of current and forecast weather and avalanche conditions.
  • Realize that weather and avalanche conditions can change unexpectedly.
  • Individually equip and train all members of your group with an avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe pole.
  • All should wear proper winter clothing, such as wool or a synthetic fiber (Thermax, PolarFleece, etc.).
  • Everyone should carry a pack with the "Ten Essentials", and other survival gear.
  • Stop and think about safety if your trip appears hazardous at any time, to anyone, in your group.
  • Be prepared to turn back if conditions or circumstances take a turn for the worst.

The winter outdoors can provide a wonderful experience, but it also demands respect. Following the above advice can help insure your trip is safe and enjoyable.

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Information and Forms

Chelan County Mountain Rescue - Chelan County Mountain Rescue is an independent organization that works closely with the Chelan County Sheriff's Office to provide the technical expertise necessary to perform complex technical mountain rescues.

Washington State 2005 Search and Rescue Conference - The Chelan County Sheriff's Office will be hosting the conference at Leavenworth in 2005, and this site is the source for up to date information.

Other Links

United States Forest
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to State and private forestry agencies.

Washington Trails Association - Washington Trails Association is a volunteer-driven, nonprofit organization working since 1966 to preserve, enhance and promote hiking opportunities in Washington State through collaboration, education, advocacy and trail maintenance.

Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center - Throughout much of Washington, northern Oregon and southern British Columbia, the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) promotes public safety by helping reduce the impacts of snow, avalanches and adverse mountain weather on transportation, industry and recreation.

Back Country Rescue K-9 Bark is a nonprofit search and rescue organization that utilizes trained search dogs to assist law enforcement (as well as other government agencies) in locating lost, injured, or deceased person(s). BARK is based out of Wenatchee, Washington and many of the members are affiliated with the Chelan County Sheriff's Office.





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