Searchers mass in Steamboat for training

Attendees coming from across state

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— More than 125 search and rescue volunteers from all over Colorado are in Steamboat Springs this weekend. But the only search they're undertaking is the quest for knowledge.

Routt County Search and Rescue together with the Colorado Search and Rescue Board is hosting SARCON 2000 here today and Sunday. The volunteers will be able to enroll in a wide variety of training classes. They include "tracking" with local search and rescue founding member Mark Satre, said Loran Logan. She is secretary of the local search and rescue's board of directors.

Others will enroll in advanced rope rescue techniques taught by Leo Lloyd of Durango. Some volunteers will learn how to load and unload search and rescue dogs from helicopters with spinning rotors.

Weather permitting, three helicopters will be on hand for the training exercise. Logan said the helicopters will come from the Colorado National Guard, St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction and Air Life St. Andrews.

While some of the classes will be held the field, others will be in classrooms at Colorado Mountain College and at the ambulance barn on Yampa Street, Logan said. Out in the field, volunteers will sharpen their skills driving all-terrain vehicles. And back in the classroom, they'll learn better ways to communicate with family and friends of the missing people who are the subjects of searches.

Routt County Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer organization that works under the supervision of Routt County Sheriff John Warner. The group is responsible for its own fund raising. Its members mount many searches annually, rescuing hunters, skiers, snowboarders and hikers who become lost in the backcountry.

Present board members of Routt County Search and Rescue include President Jamie Neault, Vice President/Rescue Training Darrell Levingston, Vice President/Equipment John McArthur, Secretary Loran Logan and Treasurer Mark Steur.

To reach Tom Ross call 871-4210 or e-mail tomross@amigo.net

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