Emery County is one of the largest counties in Utah, located in south-central Utah; the county covers 4,462 square miles with a population of about 10,800 people. Outdoor recreation is a major tourist attraction with the Green River, high mountains and slot canyons of the San Rafael Swell.
The Emery County Sheriff's Posse has been serving their community since becoming a non-profit corporation in 1958. Today the organization has 35 volunteer members who bring a wide variety of skills and talents to the organization. Most members have great first-aid skills; there are 10 EMT-1's, a couple of retired EMT's and a physician's assistant. These dedicated people volunteer hundreds of hours every year on behalf of their community, using their own equipment without charge to citizens of the county.
There is a specialized high-angle rescue team with members that are experienced climbers proficient with ropes and rappelling. All members have four wheel drive vehicles, as well as AVT's. The team also utilizes boats, rafts, snowmobiles and a Mobile Command Center.
The team is called out about 30 times a year, however, not all call-outs are search and rescue missions. Occasionally they deliver emergency messages to campers in remote areas, conduct traffic control and support the Sheriff in other operations. In August 2007 Emery County Search & Rescue helped during the Crandall Canyon Mine Disaster by staffing the command center and assisting the Sheriff with other law enforcement missions.
Recently Life Flight and Emery County Search and Rescue conducted training on Landing Zone Safety and Hoist Ground Team training. Jodie Morgan from Life Flight instructed the volunteers in setting up landing zones, responsibilities of the LZ officer, safety, communications, managing multiple helicopters at a scene and how to support the Life Flight hoist team during a rescue mission.
It wasn't too long ago that the team was called out to locate and rescue a hiker who had fallen in a slot canyon in Baptist Draw. The hiker had a broken leg and was wet and cold from being in the canyon for a couple of days. The team had to raise their patient almost 500 feet in freezing weather and set up a landing zone were Life Flight picked up the patient and transported him to a hospital. His story was retold on the Discovery Channels "I Shouldn't Have Survived" television show.
Sheriff Lamar Guymon and Search & Rescue Commander Brad Reed lead this group of community volunteers who are willing at a moments' notice to go to the aid of others no matter what it takes. We appreciate their dedication and commend them for their service.