Hinsdale County Sheriff's Office
Lake City, Colorado
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Search And Rescue Page                     

If you need Search and Rescue:

Call 970.944.2291 if it is regular business hours; otherwise call 911.

There is no charge for Search and Rescue services. Medical expenses coincident to a HCSAR incident may be billed in the normal manner. Your COSAR card will assist in reimbursing the expenses of the incident so that HCSAR may serve others.

Join HCSAR: We are always looking for more Team members and welcome volunteers of all skill levels. Applications may be obtained at the Sheriff's Office or by contacting Keith Chambers at keith43c@centurytel.net
The Hinsdale County Search and Rescue unit reports to the Sheriff through the Undersheriff. It is headed by Keith Chambers, Director and Tom Reyburn, Deputy Director. Six coordinators manage the daily operations of the unit as well as their areas of responsibility during an incident. The Coordinators are Dennis Cavit (Land Based searches), Darren Hardy (Water rescues), Becki Casey (Equestrian support), Andy Dozier (High Angle rescue), Bernie Krystyniak (Logistics and Planning) and Jodi Krystyniak (Funding).

The HCSAR team is comprised of fifty volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to the search and rescue efforts of this county. These volunteers train throughout the year and respond to incidents throughout the county on a year long basis. They are supported by an up-to-date inventory of radios and GPS devices and a modern command trailer that contains cooking and sleeping facilities as well as lighted work areas for maps and computers. The Command Trailer is also equipped with mobile base stations for VHF and UHF radios.

HCSAR provides a handy brochure at no cost to all residents and visitors who might be going into the back country.  A brochure may be obtained at the Sheriff's Office or the Chamber of Commerce/Visitors office.

Part of the brochure's contents:

Colorado Mountain Hazards
Because of Colorado's highly variable climate and ter-
rain, backcountry users need to educate themselves
before venturing out. Weather can change rapidly.
Check the forecast and keep an eye on the sky to
anticipate changing conditions.
Lightning: Lightning can strike anywhere but tends
to hit high places. In Colorado, summer afternoon
thunderstorms are common.

Dramatic temperature drops:
Snowfall happens - even in summer!
Precipitation: If you get wet, it's difficult to stay

High Water: Water levels in Colorado streams
and rivers can rise quickly. High water from flash
floods or snow melt is possible.

Heat/Sun: Keep well hydrated; avoid sunburn, even
on cloudy days. The sun's radiation is intensified at
higher altitudes.

Terrain: Hazards caused by cliffs, loose and rocky
slopes, steep snowfield, avalanche-prone slopes or ice
require special skills or avoidance altogether.

Wildlife and Plants: Colorado is home to bears,
mountain lions, snakes, bees, mosquitoes, ticks, and
other wildlife. Know how to identify and avoid plants
such as poison ivy, cactus, and thistle.
High Altitude: Substantial increases in altitude
over a short time may pose a serious risk. Affects
of alcohol and caffeine are magnified at high altitude,
and can lead to more rapid dehydration and impaired

Human Responses: Consequences of these
hazards might include: hypothermia, frostbite, altitude
sickness, dehydration, sunburn, rashes, snow-blindness, 
heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Proper training is
essential to prevent, recognize, and treat these condi-

Use Your Head!
It's one of your best tools.

It's your responsibility to be aware of hazards and to
prepare for conditions you may encounter. Proper
training and experience are invaluable.

Ask Yourself ..•
• Do we have the appropriate skills and

• Should we modify our objectives in view of
the time, the weather, and the pace?
• Are we eating and drinking enough?
• Are we using the right clothing and
• Do we have our "hikers" card (COSAR)?

Items to Consider
Consider taking a few "essential" items with you:
Extra Food
Extra Clothing
Waterproof Clothing
Map, Compass, GPS
Sunglasses and Sunscreen
Flashlight (spare batteries & bulb)
First Aid Supplies
Matches, Lighter, Firestarter (in waterproof
Cell Phone (battery fully charged)
Cell phones may help you summon emergency help
quickly. However, battery life is limited and coverage
is unreliable in the mountains. Consider turning your
cell phone off unless needed.
Hinsdale County
Search and Rescue
Lake City, Colorado

COSAR CARD: You should have a Colorado Search and Rescue card to assure some of the rescue expenses will be covered for you. The largest potential expense is aircraft deployment in a search incident. These aircraft can cost as much as $1,000 per hour of flight time. The COSAR card will help to reimburse Search and Rescue for this cost.

COSAR reimburses Hinsdale County Search and Rescue and the Hinsdale County Sheriff's Office for various expenses incurred in a SAR incident. In addition, Hinsdale County SAR receives a generous annual grant in most years to acquire equipment such as ATVs and Snowmobiles and to fund training and education for our Team members.

The COSAR card is available for one year or three years. Several merchants in Lake City and throughout Colorado have these cards for sale. Please purchase one for everyone in your party.

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