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Area first responders and search and rescue volunteers remain active

◆ Emergency calls come in as prep for COVID-19 continues.

Area healthcare professionals, first responders and search and rescue volunteers remain active and busy with “regular” work as they continue to prep for COVID-19.

“The Star valley area has been inundated with information about the coronavirus and lifestyles have been changed,” said Mike Vogt of the Alpine Fire Department. “Social distancing has become the new norm.”

“While people are advised to stay home from work and school they are venturing out to enjoy the fresh air and beautiful surroundings,” Vogt continued. “People are still coming to the area whether returning snow birds or people seeking our isolated area.”

“Health workers and emergency response personnel are working diligently to prepare for the arrival of the virus. They are preparing for response and treatment while keeping personnel safe to respond. The emphasis has been on the coronavirus, let us not forget the response to the ‘regular’ calls,” Vogt said.

According to Vogt, just because coronavirus is grabbing headlines does not mean that people should forget their heads when they head out into the outdoors.

“Folks are out seeming to get away from everyone and hitting the outdoors,” he said. “This too is where people need to be concerned about their safety. In the last 30 days there have been five calls (2 searches from SOS activations and three fractures) for Star Valley Search and Rescue members.”

According to Vogt, every Search and Rescue response is a team effort.

“Alpine Fire and Alpine EMS have had the pleasure to work with these fine people that volunteer their time to be there for you,” Vogt said. “Each call last at least 5-6 hours, with travel time, response time, treatment and packaging, transport time, equipment rehab, and report writing.”

“Now there is the additional concerns about the virus with responding to persons from out of the area,” Vogt continued. “Each call deploys several members from different agencies, all play an important part. From Dispatch receiving and relaying important information with bad backcountry communication sources to Alpine EMTs getting patient access as soon as possible and determining the needs. Air Idaho and Star Valley Health may respond. Star Valley Search and Rescue responds with their highly skilled members and advanced equipment.”

According to Vogt, area residents and recreationalists would do well to remember that each of the health care providers, first responders and Search and Rescue volunteers have family and friends they are concerned about.

“Let’s all try to keep our social distancing by being safe and keep our first responders and Search and Rescue members home with their families during this unpredictable time,” he said.