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Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit responds to 12 calls in July

Having a good plan, informing people about that plan and carrying more than enough water are essential to staying safe.

BOISE, Idaho — With extreme heat comes extreme risk – especially if you are going on any sort of outdoor adventure.

For the past 60 years, the Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit has made sure people are prepared and safe. Last year, the unit responded to 40 calls, search specialist Scotty Perkins said.

The unit has already responded to 18 calls this year, and twelve of those happened this month. To stay safe in the wilderness, he said preparedness is key.

“Make sure that you're thinking about the things that might go wrong in addition to the things that should be going right,” Perkins said.

If something does go wrong, emergency responders are there to help. Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue is called in as reinforcement for law enforcement, Perkins said. The entire unit is volunteer-based. 

Perkins started working with the unit five years ago. As an outdoor enthusiast himself, he said helping out is an obvious choice.

“Volunteering with our unit is an excellent way to both get an appreciation of the outdoors and help people who like to spend time, but also learn about some of the dangers and be more proactive and prepared as I enjoyed on my own,” he said.

Since it is the middle of summer, the unit gets a fair amount of heat-related calls. Perkins said unreliable weather is an issue in some instances.

It is also not uncommon for someone to be on the verge of heat exhaustion before temperatures drop, thunderstorms begin and hypothermia sets in.

Water is another concern, Perkins said.

“We've had several additional missions this year relative to years past, in terms of access to rivers and swift water,” he said. “So that's an unusual observation that we've made.”

Perkins said the Search and Rescue Unit does not want to discourage people from exploring the outdoors. They merely want people to make good decisions, which often starts before stepping foot outside.

Having a solid plan is essential, according to Perkins. Other people should also be aware of that plan, so telling your friends and loved ones where you are going is a good idea.

Carrying more than enough water and food, while seemingly obvious, are also things some people forget. Perkins said he recommends finding routes close to water sources. That way, people can get in contact with emergency responders if something happens.

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