Rescue group urges public to use separate number to report lost gear
VAIL — Searching for a boat is a lot less urgent than searching for a body. As a public service announcement, Vail Mountain Rescue Group is asking that gear lost in an Eagle County river be reported to the nonemergency dispatch line, 970-479-2201. The number takes callers to a 911 dispatcher, but in a nonemergency fashion.
Give a detailed description of what piece of equipment was lost and where it was last seen. Additionally, equipment should be labeled with a name and phone number. This makes it easier to return lost and stolen equipment.
“If a boat or paddle matching the description does get called in, then we know that we’re looking for that object, rather than looking for a person in the river,” said Miles Henson, Vail Mountain Rescue president and emergency medical technician for Eagle County Paramedic Services.
Fire engines and emergency medical services get dispatched to river rescues first. Henson said if those emergency services are being used, they are tied up for other rescues.
The nonemergency dispatch resource can confirm when emergency services are really needed for a rescue when a life is at risk.
“First and foremost, our goal is to keep people safe and to help those in need,” Henson said. “But we also have to keep in mind the larger community and the needs for fire and emergency medical services.”
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