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Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit runs mock mission

Saturday’s mission started at 7 a.m. and involved three people whose unicorn float popped on the Boise River.

BOISE, Idaho — If your adventure takes a turn for the worse, there is a team of Gem State volunteers at Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue ready to help.

Local sheriff offices deploy Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue whenever they need extra support. On Saturday, the team ran a mock mission just south of Arrowrock Reservoir.

There are two full-blown mock missions each year, one in the summer and another in the winter. EMT Rob Shelton said mock missions not only help develop search and rescue skills, but also builds team spirit.

“We can work in a dynamic environment and apply every one of our teams and specialties and trainings,” Shelton said.

Saturday’s mission started at 7 a.m. and involved three people whose unicorn float popped on the Boise River. Before the whole crew started searching, they sent out a few hasty teams, which tech specialist Mark Sullivan said helps improve response time.

Everyone at Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue is a volunteer. Sullivan said there are over 100 people on the roster. The organization is also grant and volunteer funded.

Shelton joined the team two years ago. He said taking care of others in the backcountry is in his blood.

“To have that opportunity to be on with them at any given point, to help those in their worst moment, is an honor,” Shelton said.

Retired athlete Trish Deim agrees. She joined the team one year ago and has never looked back.  As an outdoor enthusiast herself, Deim said she loves helping others.

“I’ve raised my family in the outdoors,” Deim said. “[With] how much I play in the outdoors, it was part of me to fulfill this for the next generation so they can have the same outlook and safety that I’ve enjoyed."

In Saturday’s mock scenario, all three people floating down the river separated, trying to get help. Splitting up is something Sullivan said is a fairly common mistake.

He recommends staying put.

“If you had a plan and you communicated that plan before you left on your adventure, then somebody’s gonna to figure out sooner or later that you’re missing and take the appropriate steps, including alerting search and rescue,” Sullivan said.  

In September, Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue will celebrate its 60th year in operation. Details on getting involved are listed online.

Sullivan said once someone signs up and completes a three-day program, they are put on a probationary period for one year. This is where members receive the majority of their training.  

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