EAGLE RIVER, Mich. (WJMN) – The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of creating a 501(c)(3) non-profit search and rescue team.
The need for a search and rescue team was highlighted after a Wisconsin man was rescued off of High Rock Point on Monday afternoon after spending four days on Lake Superior.
“We received a report from a police department out of Wisconsin about a missing subject that was in our area. We didn’t have a great description on a vehicle or anything like that,” said Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala. “On Monday morning, we received a call from some personnel who were out by High Rock Bay. What happened is there was a couple, some citizens that were out there kayaking and saw this man floating in the water. They had drug him into the shore, so that’s how we got involved with it.”
The Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office currently relies on the area’s fire departments and first responders to help out in situations like this. But, as more and more tourists visit the area each year and with how remote the Keweenaw Peninsula is, Pennala said a search and rescue team under the sheriff’s office is essential at this point in time.
“First off, we’d have to look at what standards there are, what kind of trainings we’re going to need, the different parameters we’re going to have to work through. And then it would be finding the volunteers to do that and then pull together in a meeting and try to organize that,” said Pennala.
Pennala said the hope would be to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit search and rescue team, comprised of community members/volunteers and overlooked by the Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office to help get donations for equipment and other items.
“At the top of my head, we definitely need some GPS’s, a rescue trailer, different types of water rescue equipment, things of that nature […] We have watercrafts here, which would obviously be used for that. We have a Ski-Doo that we could use for that. We do have some of the equipment acquired already, but there’s other stuff we need to make it more of a professional team.”
The Keweenaw Sheriff’s Office hopes to hold an organizational meeting about the search and rescue team at the end of September. Pennala expects the process to take one to two years to reach full development.
For more information, please contact the Keweenaw County Sheriff’s Office at (906) 337-0528.
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