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Fremont Co. works to better prepare for rescues

Fremont Co. works to better prepare for rescues

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho - The Fremont County Search and Rescue team wants to be better prepared when it comes to rescuing people in cold temperatures. This comes after two scary incidents over the weekend.

"Three individuals who got themselves in over their head trying to go a very short distance got themselves stuck. They had to break into a building to provide themselves some shelter and we had to go in there exposed trying to get them out of there and that is pretty difficult," said Brett Mackert, commander for the Fremont County Search and Rescue team.

Mackert said the recent rescue is what prompted urgency to get help. Stranded motorists on Highway 20 also made matters worse. One dispatcher explained her concerns to the county commissioners Monday.

"I have a deputy up there on Highway 20 who says I can't see anything and I almost got hit head-on by a semi, so you know it's bad."

Mackert also spoke in the open meeting about his need for more tools to keep his team safe.

"We have identified the need in our search and rescue to get back into the snowcap business where we have a snowcap that we can put multiple people in the back of it and some of our people take it into the back country and use it as a warming station," he said. 

The snow vehicle comes at a cost of $27,000 and that is why he needs help from the commissioners. Chairman Lee Miller said the commissioners see a need and will find a way to help.

"We are in full support of the search and rescue team in Fremont County. It is one of the largest in the state of Idaho," Miller said.

Miler also said he will ask a commissioner from Valley County to test the snowcat in McCall. If it works the commissioners will figure out how much money they can give, how much the sheriff can spare or apply for a Forest Service grant.

There are 35 members in the Fremont County Search and Rescue team. They do not get paid for their time. The team has a $16,000 budget.

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