- Associated Press - Saturday, August 19, 2017

DENVER (AP) - Search and rescue teams in Colorado are busier than ever as more people venture into the backcountry without the skills and gear needed for any situation they might encounter, officials say.

Rescue teams don’t charge for their services but urge people venturing into the backcountry to carry 10 essential items, the Denver Post reported (https://dpo.st/2xejV3s).

Ninety percent of hikers and climbers recently surveyed as they headed up three 14,000-foot peaks didn’t have all those items, said Howard Paul with Alpine Rescue Team.

Those are: Navigation tools, warm clothing, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, fire-making tools, extra food and water, an emergency shelter, sun protection and a knife or multi-tool.

Smartphones with global positioning have made it easier to find people who get lost but can create a false sense of security in the backcountry, Paul said.

“A growing number of the backcountry travelers we assist are in terrain more difficult than their skills or experience can handle,” said Paul. “Some hikers today rely on a cellphone, where, in the past, preparation, experience and knowledge would have prevented simple problems.”

Not all missions are in rugged areas. In Douglas County, rescuers are doing more work in cities, said team spokesman Shawn Strain.

“The majority of our missions are now urban callouts for dementia and Alzheimer’s walk-away subjects, and at-risk or lost juveniles,” Strain said.

Colorado’s five busiest search-and-rescue teams are Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, based in Boulder; El Paso County Search and Rescue Team, based in Colorado Springs; Alpine Rescue Team, based in Evergreen; Summit County Rescue Group, based in Summit County; and Douglas County Search and Rescue Team, based in Castle Rock.


Information from: The Denver Post, https://www.denverpost.com

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