FREMONT COUNTY - Because of the mountains, the rivers, and all that snow in the winter, the Fremont County Search and Rescue teams are busier than any other unit in the state. On average, the Fremont County rescue teams are involved with 40 missions a year. And perhaps most remarkable? All of them are volunteers.
Commander Brett Mackert has been on the Fremont County Search & Rescue Unit for 33 years. He's seen just about every possible type of rescue mission.
"This is a recreation mecca. That seems to be the number one cause of people getting into trouble in our county. They come here, they recreate, they get into trouble. We have the Sand Dunes, we have desert, we have hunting, we have boating, we have fishing, we have snowmobiling, we have cross country skiing, you name it we have it here," said S&R Commander Brett Mackert.
If you add up every other search & rescue unit's searches per year, Fremont County typically has more than all of them combined. That's why they have over 2 miles or rope, handfuls of vehicles, and boats.
"All the time in life we make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes are small and trivial enough that we don't have drastic outcomes. And when we do have those drastic outcomes we need people out there to help clean that up, and keep that drastic outcome from being a death or fatality," said Mackert.
Mackert says two things will help you prevent getting into a bad situation: plan, and tell friends and family what you're doing. Time is precious during a rescue mission, and you don't want these volunteers spending hours looking for you in the wrong place.
"Sometimes if you get more heads involved in making the plans you will find out that somebody will say, 'I don't know if that's a good idea,'" said Mackert.
But why does this team of 34 volunteers spend hours in the cold, the dark, and the dangerous?
"We all do it for individual reasons, but the real reason is we like to see the success story, where the loved ones are reunited. We have that feeling we've done something great and wonderful to get that family back together again," said Mackert.
While Fremont Search and Rescue is the busiest, years when there's an economic downturn the amount of rescues decreases quite a bit. So these past 2 years have seen the least rescues committed in the last 10 years.
You can visit the Fremont Search and Rescue website by clicking http://www.fremontrescue.org/.