Volunteers from Eugene Mountain Rescue (EMR) discussed the history of EMR, what they do, and most important—why they do it for our community. They  also shared stories about their experiences—boots, ropes, carabiners, and crampons on the ground and in the air.

Visit them here: https://www.eugenemountainrescue.org/

Notes from the presentation:

EMR missions mostly include searching for lost hikers, as well as vehicles that get stuck. Looking for people who just went “wandering” is frequent, as are searches for hunters (particularly mushroom hunters).

There are about 1000 search and rescue meetings in Oregon and 100 in Lane County. Types of missions tend to vary by season and Spring is the least number of incidents. Summer is definitely the worst.

Males from 21-30 are the demographic that get lost the most.

EMR participates in steeper mountainous rescues as well as remote rescues.

There are lots of rescue groups in Lane County who work with Eugene Mountain Rescue and each other to include:

  • Lane County Water Search and Rescue Team
  • Lane County Ground Search and Rescue Team (mostly evidence related searches)
  • Explorer Post 178 (ground searches and base camp set up)
  • Lane County Mounted Posse (trail searching & transport)
  • Lane County Special Vehicles Group (remote areas)
  • Lane County Amateur Radio Operators (establish communication)
  • Lane County Search Dogs
  • Nordic Ski Group

Searcher’s safety is especially important. If it isn’t safe to get to someone, they don’t go.

When a 911 call comes in, the sheriff’s deputy does a bit of fact finding and then a “hasty team” reports to the scene to do a quick search from the point last seen. 70% of searches are resolved at this step. If preliminary searching does not find the subject, additional resources are called in.

Not all calls are treated equally. Factors that determine urgency include weather and expected weather, age and medical condition of the subject, and experience of the subject and how well equipped. Kids are obviously treated with the highest amount of urgency.

Containment is one of the most important strategies. Finding a point that the person definitely had been is important.

If you are lost, STAY PUT. Hug a tree. Don’t keep wandering.

If you are going, make sure you tell someone!

Our speaker mentioned that this case has always haunted her: https://www.craterlakeinstitute.com/crater-lake-news/remembering-boy-lost.htm. One thing about being a rescuer is that sometimes, lives are lost or people are not found. But it is very rewarding when lives are saved or closure is brought to a family who otherwise may have always wondered.