Some of you know I have spent the last ten or so years volunteering as medical director for SAR in Snohomish County, and the Helicopter Rescue Team. The rest of you, my apologies for the uncharacteristically long email from a stranger. Apologies also for a mass emailing; beware any “reply all”.
The HRT is a regional asset (under the complex federal homeland security setup called UASI, along with King and Pierce counties) that is funded solely by Snohomish County. We receive our maintenance money from Snohomish County via the Sheriff’s Office; personnel, except a few deputies, are all volunteers). In 2013 we lost a major source of maintenance funding via federal timber tax, that disappeared with the recession, to the tune of around $150,000 annually. Not a lot, but hard for a predominantly volunteer organization to find.
We provide the only ALS + technical (alpine) rescue north of Ventura County, CA, and our volume is steadily increasing. Our ALS medications and equipment are provided from our one of our ALS districts in the county, Gold Bar–District 26, much via grants. We fly missions from Thurston County to the Canadian border, the East Cascades to the Olympics. These include climbing accidents, backcountry ski accidents, ORV traumas and assists to fire/rescue in difficult terrain. We fly an upgraded Huey and can rig for MCIs, also. We transport to the trauma center closest to the rescue, usually Providence Everett, Harborview and Wenatchee. We will run out of funding by 2015-16.
Our volunteers, working with Everett Mountain Rescue, have organized our first fundraiser dinner/auction down at the Mountaineers Center, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, APRIL 19th at 1800. Please see the link below.
I am attempting to get the word out to potential private supporters. I’ve included emergency physicians and trauma surgeons, physicians I know to be avid outdoorsmen, EMS medical directors, and the physician community in the county.
Please consider attending. Most of you will not be able to, so please also consider forwarding this email as appropriate to colleagues. It’s limited to 300 but we are not nearly there. If this works we will pursue further events. As an administrator it is painful to fund a program with inconsistent grants and fundraisers, and we work toward more stable funding consistently. Ideally fundraising money is best spent on capital needs, such as litters, splints, etc.. None, though, will go toward personnel compensation–we are volunteers.
Thanks for your time! Email me with questions, this is my non-work passion. There’s more information on our website http://helicopterrescue.org/
Ron Brown, MD, FACEP
Snohomish County EMS