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The volunteers behind search and rescue operations

Pima County Search and Rescue Unit
Posted at 8:19 AM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 11:19:36-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — "We're basically the foot troops," John Perchorowicz, a 40-year volunteer for the Southern Arizona Rescue Association, said.

He has seen just about everything during his time as a volunteer.

"After you do so many missions, they fall into patterns," Perchorowicz said.

This experience is invaluable to the Pima County Sheriff's Department. They rely on volunteers to help them with rescues.

"Even when we have the fire department personnel with us, we generally still require additional personnel," Sergeant Steve Ferree said. "That's where the volunteers come in."

The volunteers use a number of resources to help them with their rescues. Perchorowicz said they pack their backpack to be able to survive for 24 hours while on a rescue mission.

Each rescue is different and requires different resources. Sergeant Ferree said they will use their helicopter for urgent or hard to reach rescue operations.

Some tips they have for when you are hiking is to turn around when you have half of your water left and check the weather ahead of time to avoid getting caught in a monsoon.