King County Executive Dow Constantine honored King County Search and Rescue volunteers with the ninth annual Executive's Award for Community Resilience, citing the organization's exemplary service during the February 2019 snow emergency.
King County Executive Dow Constantine has selected King County Search and Rescue (KCSAR) for the Executive's Award for Community Resilience, citing their exemplary service during the February 2019 snow emergency.
Chief Operating Officer Casey Sixkiller presented the award this afternoon in a ceremony at the county's Regional Communications and Emergency Coordination Center (RCECC) in Renton. This is the ninth year that Executive Constantine has given out the award.
"Since establishing the Executive's Award, we've seen remarkable examples of heroic actions and resilient communities throughout our region," said Sixkiller. "King County Search and Rescue epitomizes this spirit, volunteering long hours, often under the most extreme conditions, to protect and care for people in distress."
KCSAR is an independent, non-profit organization of more than 600 highly-trained volunteers that partners with the King County Sheriff's Office during emergencies. It is one of the largest search and rescue organizations in the country, and one of the busiest. KCSAR responds to overdue hikers, injured adventurers, missing persons, and law enforcement calls for criminal case assistance.
"The skills, training and expertise of our King County Search and Rescue volunteers is invaluable," said Sheriff Mitzi G. Johanknecht. "When people needed help during the snow storms of last February, these men and women did not hesitate to answer the call."
During the February 2019 snow emergency, KCSAR volunteers hit the pause button at work and at home to provide 24/7 life safety support. With roads impassable due to three feet of snow, KCSAR's high clearance, winter-capable 4x4s, All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs), and snowmobiles carried paramedics, nurses, doctors, and sheriff deputies to reach individuals who would otherwise be trapped and cut off from help. Volunteers were paired with fire stations in Carnation, Duvall, the Issaquah Highlands, and areas to the south (May Valley, Covington, and Maple Valley) to provide the "last mile" of transport in locations where heavy fire apparatus could not reach.
"Today I am here representing the 600 volunteers of King County Search and Rescue, and I couldn't be more proud," said King County SAR President Jennifer Brenes. "The secret sauce that makes all of this work is the partnerships and trust we've established with public safety and emergency response agencies in our over 50 years of serving King County."
During the February snow emergency, KCSAR volunteers:
- Gave almost 1,000 volunteer hours and drove more than 7,800 miles - in personally owned vehicles.
- Transported 130 medical staff and first responders, including:
- eight hospital nurses
- 35 Emergency Operations Center staff
- 77 9-1-1 staff
- ten shelter staff
- Supported Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, Tacoma General Hospital, and Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, as well as the King County Sheriff's Office, Eastside Fire and Rescue, and the Emergency Operations Command.