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New gear donated to enhance Snohomish County backcountry searches

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team announce acquisition of a new helicopter based search system in an effort to both increase rescuer safety and the odds of saving lives in the backcountry.
SnoHawk 10 at Kennedy Creek crossing rescue. Photo courtesy of Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

From a March 6, 2020, Snohomish County news release.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team announce acquisition of a new helicopter based search system in an effort to both increase rescuer safety and the odds of saving lives in the backcountry.

The technology donated by RECCO is a two-part system, featuring an active detector, carried by the helicopter, and a passive reflector, carried by the person needing rescue.

Large areas can be covered quickly by flying at 60 mph at a height of 300 feet while scanning a corridor about 300 feet wide until a signal is received. This equates to searching 250 acres in as little as six minutes.

RECCO reflectors are incorporated in more than 200 leading outdoor brands including jackets, pants, helmets, boots, and harnesses for both winter and summer use.

Additionally, reflectors are available for sale that can be easily attached to any part of your gear.

Wearing RECCO reflectors increases search-ability.

Snohomish County is the fourth location in North America to be equipped with this technology. It is currently in use in Utah, Montana, and British Columbia.

The ability to search with the RECCO device from the helicopter will reduce ground searchers exposure to risk due to avalanche hazards in the winter and will speed up the search process year-round.

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