As the demand for rescues continues to increase in the Jackson Hole area, Teton County Search & Rescue has put together a plan to purchase a year-round search and rescue-dedicated helicopter. Dubbed “Mission Critical,” SAR terminology to indicate a life-or-death scenario, the plan calls for a consistent, predictable, and accessible rescue helicopter for 365 days a year in Teton County.
Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation has committed to raising the funds necessary to complete the purchase, with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office continuing to fund annual operations through the normal county budgeting process. This ongoing public/private partnership for SAR helicopter operations is integral to the program. Mission Critical comes at a time when the team is seeing a year-round spike in rescue calls, including summers on the western slope of the Tetons.
With the team’s ground response impacted by distance to callouts, traffic congestion, and a growing recreating public, having a rescue-ready helicopter in Teton County can be the difference between life or death. Additionally, as fires are becoming a year-round and more destructive phenomenon in the west, TCSAR can’t expect helicopter access to be more available.
TCSAR presented the plan to the Teton County Commissioners on Monday, during a workshop. The timeline for delivery of the new helicopter would be summer or fall 2023.