Search and rescue unit hopes to attract new volunteers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Serving the community, saving lives and going on outdoor adventures within the boundaries of Adams County are all things the new Search and Rescue Unit has to offer its volunteers.

The group, organized by the Emergency Management Office and the Sheriff’s Office, has been in the formation stages for several months now, said Tracy Floyd of the Emergency Management Office.

&uot;We’ve slowly been building up the team,&uot; she said. &uot;We really need a big variety of people, trained or not trained, because we are going to give them training.&uot;

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Right now the group has around 60 members, mostly volunteers from area law enforcement agencies and fire departments, but Floyd said she wants to see more average people.

The group will have a meeting at 6:30 tonight for any community member interesting in joining.

Members must be 18 or older to become search and rescue qualified. Teenagers and children under 18 can fill supporting roles. An initiation fee of $30 and annual dues of $20 are required, both can be paid over a three-month period.

The unit is run on a volunteer basis and does not receive grant funding. Floyd said at a later date equipment will have to be purchased, but currently training will come from volunteers certified in certain areas.

Once trained, the team will be called upon by local authorities to assist in natural disasters, urban rescue, water rescue or searches in the woods, among other things.

&uot;We need anyone who can write on a sheet of paper to anyone who can give first aid and CPR,&uot; Floyd said.

The group will have record keepers and needs people capable of reading maps to assist.

After tonight’s meeting the group will meet once a month.

Interim officers have already been elected and will serve until September, when permanent officers will be elected and by-laws put into place.

Tonight’s meeting will be in the Emergency Management Office in the basement below the Sheriff’s Office at 306 State Street.