Rescue program seeks volunteers

By Bill Schwingel

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Auxiliary Snowmobile Search and Rescue Unit is looking for volunteers to aid motorists during winter.

The rescue unit originated in 1980-1981 to aid stranded motorists caught in snowstorms and accidents that are only reachable by snowmobiles, said Donna Peterson, deputy of the administrative sheriff’s office.

“Without them (the rescue unit) we would all be in serious consequences (during snowstorms),” Peterson said. There are still people who decide to travel in blizzards, regardless of vehicle warnings by weather agencies.

Volunteers participating in the rescue unit will be asked to “be available in times of snow” to assist stranded motorists, she said. The program has been “very successful” in the past, she added.

Volunteers must be 18 years old or older, possess a valid Illinois driver’s license, have never been convicted of a serious misdemeanor or felony and have a snowmobile.

If an accident occurs, the rescue unit will be responsible for taking paramedics to the scene of the accident, if no other vehicles are capable of transporting a paramedic, she said.

If other vehicles are capable of reaching the scene of an accident, then volunteers may be asked to simply throw a blanket over the victim until further assistance arrives, Peterson said.

“Most anyone who wants to volunteer” can become a member of the rescue unit, she said. The more volunteers the rescue unit receives, the greater area the unit can cover.

The proximity of the volunteer’s residence to a snow-related problem determines whether or not he will be needed, she said.

Safety measures for the volunteers will be discussed at the 7 p.m., Nov. 16 training session at the Public Safety Building, Peterson said.

Any person interested in becoming a volunteer can pick up an application at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office in Sycamore.