In June, Grand County Emergency Medical Services began implementing prevention search and rescue measures on popular bike trails. “Many of the rescues that go out from Grand County EMS could have been prevented if folks were better prepared for their adventures,” explained Chris Canning, an advanced emergency medical technician. “Backcountry rescues take a long time and they are resource intensive for the agencies involved.”
During the summer months, the majority of emergency medical calls that go out are due to heat exhaustion or dehydration for bikers and hikers. This has encouraged the start of preventive search and rescue from medical professionals in Grand County. ‘’We encourage people to communicate with friends or family for preventive search and rescue,” advised Jim Webster, commander of Grand County Search and Rescue. “Tell someone where you’re going and when you plan on coming back.”
Paramedic Henning Plesner and Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Chris Canning recently performed preventive search and rescue methods on the Slickrock Bike Trail, a popular world-class biking location. “Our goals when we do preventive search and rescue are to make sure visitors have enough water and some source of electrolyte replenishment,” said Canning. “We want to ensure that they are informed about the difficulty of the trails they are intending to take, and to be in an advantageous position to be able to respond if there is anyone in distress.”
The prevention search and rescue at Slickrock trail was successful: both locals and tourists were excited to chat with Plesner and Canning. GCEMS members have also bike patrolled the Bar M trail system and the Lazy/EZ Loop trail for preventive search and rescue. Other popular areas will continue to be targeted throughout the year, said Canning.