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Frequently Asked Questions 

  • (Please click on the questions to view the answers)

  •  How do I activate Search and Rescue?

    Any call to 911 will begin the process. If you are using a cell phone and are in the roaming mode you may contact an emergency center outside of the area you expected. Always provide the 911 operator with your name, contact number, location and the nature of your emergency. The 911 operator will notify the appropriate SAR coordinator to provide assistance to you.

     Is there a charge for Search and Rescue?

    The Mesa County Sheriff does not charge for search and rescue. Medical units from Fire Departments, Hospitals or Ambulance providers may charge for medical services and transport. Do not wait to call for assistance because you are worried about a bill. Remember Search is an emergency! You may purchase a CORSAR card at one of over 300 vendors in the state. The CORSAR card helps defray the costs associated with Search and Rescue operations.

     Should I carry a cellular phone while in the backcountry?

    Cellular phones are a big help if there is an emergency. But remember there is not cell phone coverage available in all of Mesa County due to terrain and distance. Your Cell provider may not have service in an area where you are experiencing an emergency. Always make sure your battery is fully charged before entering the backcountry. Turn your phone off to save power until it is needed. Don't plan your survival tactics solely on a cell phone.

     Should I carry a GPS?

    Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) is a great electronic tool for establishing your location or the direction and distance to a known location (waypoint). GPS use requires practice with the instrument to understand how to use it. Because they are electronic they require batteries and they can occasionally fail. Search and Rescue teams train routinely with the GPS and use it. But they never venture into the field without a compass and the knowledge of how to use the compass for navigation. We encourage that both be utilized together.

     What are the PLBs I have been reading about?

    A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is a radio transmitter that relays an emergency signal to a satellite in case of emergency activation. From the satellite the received information is relayed to search and rescue teams. All the satellite knows is that the PLB has been activated and the approximate location from which it is sending signals. PLBs do not tell the Search and Rescue Teams what kind of emergency exists. Search teams do not know if they are responding to a lost person, a medical emergency, or an avalanche. It should be only activated in severe emergency. All SAR resources are deployed because the type of emergency is unknown.

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