YORK, Pa. — Search and rescue teams are the ones law enforcement call when they need help bringing the lost or missing home to their families. South Central Pa. Search and Rescue, Search 93, based in York County, has helped emergency crews lead successful missions across the region.
South Central Pa. Search and Rescue is one of 292 local nonprofits that will be participating in Give Local York on May 6. On May 6, from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m., donors can visit this link to support local nonprofits in and around York County.
The nonprofit organization is made up of more than 50 volunteers, including five K-9 units, that help local law enforcement respond to emergencies. Each team member has a unique role to play in search and rescue missions.
“My tracking and trailing dog will give us a starting point of where the person went. The drone can take over,” Jimi Timmer, K-9 lieutenant of South Central Pa. Search and Rescue said.
A drone gives the team an eagle’s eye view of the search area that allows them to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. The drone’s infrared cameras pick up body heat that can point search crews in the right direction and mapping technology helps the team keep track of areas that they’ve searched.
“Last summer was one of the difficult ones," Chief Kurtis Timmer said. "That was a week-long event. "You put 10 or 12 hours in on the search, you go home, you go back, and look at these maps. There will be two or three of us that are working at home, looking at the map, and deciding where we go tomorrow.”
The team’s medical personnel can reach people in places that ambulances cannot get to. The organization recently used donations to purchase two new medical kits that contain essential supplies.
“They are full of all of the types of equipment we would need,” Nathaniel Stoner, the organization’s EMS lieutenant said. “Tourniquets for bleeding control, and airway management for a patient that is potentially unresponsive and unable to breathe on their own. There’s even a portable stretcher in these things.”
Search 93 can be the glimmer of hope in a dire situation, but their work is not possible without the community’s support. The nonprofit relies on monetary donations to purchase equipment and volunteers dip into their own savings to purchase supplies when funding gets low.
During Give Local York, South Central Pa. Search and Rescue is hoping to raise enough money to buy county radios to communicate directly with other agencies during a search, bring on a medical director to enhance standards of care, and invest in a waterproof drone that they can fly in any weather.
Not every search effort is a success. Recovery situations weigh heavy on team members after spending hours, if not days, on a mission. The adrenaline rush of a successful outcome, however, reminds them of the reason why they go to great lengths to bring home the missing or the lost.
“It’s what we work for and what we volunteer for,” Deputy Chief Derek Bowersox said.
To learn more about South Central Pa. Search and Rescue, check out the organization's website.