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Salt Lake County sees increase in search & rescue calls

Posted at 9:38 PM, May 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 02:30:23-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY — Over the past eight days, there have been seven search and rescue callouts across Salt Lake County.

“Which is a lot… Let's be honest,” Sgt. Melody Cutler of the Unified Police Department said Saturday. “That’s almost one a day.”

READ: Climber rescued after falling 70 feet in Big Cottonwood Canyon

The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team is made up of all volunteers and has been working around the clock this past week.

“A couple of these over the last few days here have been incredibly technical rescues,” Cutler told FOX 13.

A lot of the problem lies in the weather — many people want to get out right now and hit the trails with the nice conditions in the Salt Lake Valley.

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But that also means more people on the trails, and potentially more people who could become injured and need a rescue.

“It's early in the year. It's early spring, and if it continues this way, it's stacking up to be an incredibly busy summer for these rescuers,” Cutler said. "Our concern becomes when we have multiple search and rescues going on at the same time and having to split those resources.”

A FOX 13 crew spoke to people at the trailhead of Ferguson Canyon, which was the site of another rescue in the last week.

“This is pretty much my backyard. I’ve been hiking up here for years,” said Cory Martin. “It seems like, to me, where people run into trouble is where they stumble off-trail.”

Leslie Lengua was also on her way down the trail, spending Saturday in the mountains with her dog because it was her day off.

While the hike was successful, she said next time she will definitely bring the “correct shoes for the trail.”

READ: Salt Lake Co. climber rescued from area called 'Certain Death'

Unified Police said in addition to proper footwear, hikers should be prepared to spend the night in case they become stranded. They advised that people bring food, water, a charged phone, water, flashlights, and, did we mention, water?

Crews have had their hands full and will answer the call, but it is best to be as prepared as best as possible to prevent having to call these teams.

“Search and rescue crews have a purpose, and it is to rescue," Cutler reminded the public.

The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team posts photos and recaps of their missions on its Facebook page: