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Crews see spike in search and rescue operations in southern Utah

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Posted at 10:32 PM, Mar 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 09:37:27-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah -- The Washington County Search and Rescue team says they’re having an unusually high number of rescues in southern Utah this year, and they said there isn’t a clear reason for the spike.

The team, made up of volunteers, has responded to 27 calls for help since the first of the year, which is compared to 44 in all of 2014.

The locations and situations vary, but in the majority of cases coordinators said the rescues could have been avoided with a little more preparation.

“They didn’t have enough water, they didn’t have the equipment to stay after dark,” said Darrell Cashin, who is the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue liaison. “They didn't have the clothing when it got cold. You need to think about those things before you go out, and throw a little light jacket in there, throw a flashlight in there, throw some extra water in there.”

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office told commissioners this week the last time they saw an increase was 2006 to 2008. They said they believe the mild winter may be playing into it, saying many people just aren’t prepared for sudden changes in weather.