Southern Utah

Southern Utah search and rescue concerned for their first responders

HURRICANE (News4Utah) - Search and rescue teams in southern Utah are averaging 10 operations per month this year and Washington County Sheriff's Office is becoming concerned for their first responders.

"To go out and have to deal with it repeatedly, you start to get a little concerned for their well-being," said Sgt. Darrell Cashin with Washington County Search and Rescue. 

So far, there have been 57 search and rescues in 2018, and three in just five days.  Recently, Cashin says they've made more recoveries than rescues. 

"We've had six body recoveries at this point, and five of them have come in the last four to five weeks," said Cashin. 

"In one incident, they were working on an individual. He was actually alive when they reached him with a life flight crew, carried him out of the canyon and they were doing CPR on him when he expired. and that mentally takes a toll on anybody," said Cashin.

Sgt. Cashin says some of the volunteers reached out for help. 

Everybody wants to be the big tough guy and not admit that he's having an issue or problem. In this industry to me, someone that can stand up and say: You know what? I think I need a little bit of help with that, that's what makes them a good first responder and a good rescuer," said Cashin.

"I think our concern here is having so many of them close together has a cumulative effect. And we want to make sure they're ok, so we're in the process of setting up a meeting, bringing in a mental health worker to discuss post-traumatic stress, signs, and symptoms.  Have the members come and bring their spouses with them so they'll also understand and see things, and then if they need individual help and counseling, we're willing to offer that as well," said Cashin.

Cashin says to take extra water and always let someone know where you are going.

"You know, we have this beautiful country. Go out and have some fun, but think it through, be safe, and be prepared. That will make the difference on whether you survive or you don't."

Cashin says that if you are ever concerned you might need help, don't wait.  When the sun goes down the search becomes more difficult for the volunteers and those needing to be rescued. 

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