Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team

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Editorial: SBM is proud to support our local SAR teams. Here is the latest from Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team.


For all who recreate in the rugged Pacific Northwest, have you ever had that sinking feeling when your adventure took a turn for the worse?  Far from the car, you lose track of the trail, or slip and twist your knee in the snow.  Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.   When it happens to you, who will be there to help?

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The crew of SnoHawk 10

The Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team will be there.

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Mt. Pilchuck Rescue – July 5-6, 2013

Snohomish County’s Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT) performs over 80 missions every year, serving Washington counties east and west of the Cascades.  The crew includes a Rescue Technician and a Paramedic or ER physician.   Serious injuries in the backcountry require rapid stabilization and transport to an emergency room, but evacuation by a ground team can take hours if not days, putting both you and the rescuers at significant risk.  HRT can quickly perform a technical rescue and then stabilize life-threatening injuries during the flight to the hospital.

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Mt Goode Rescue – July 7 2013

The bottom line: If you ever need to be rescued, the professionally trained men and women of this amazing resource will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – free of charge.

But it’s not all good news, unfortunately.

The HRT program had been receiving $150,000 annually in federal funding, covering the cost of fuel and maintenance. Two months ago this funding was eliminated – there are no funds allocated for 2014 or beyond. Without a new funding source, this critical program will simply disappear.

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Interstate 5 bridge collapse into Skagit River – May 23, 2013

Snohomish County’s Helicopter Rescue Team gets the most attention when it plucks an injured hiker from a popular peak, but the team is an invaluable community resource.  They respond to mass casualty incidents, like the recent I-5 bridge collapse. They carry water buckets for fire crews. They rescue flood victims when the levy breaks.  They even help locate Alzheimer’s patients who wander away from their home. This resource touches every family throughout our region.

So how can you help?

1. HRT is hosting their first ever, fundraising dinner on April 19, 2014 but they need volunteers who can help fundraise, market, auction and even cater. Maybe you have an item or trip you could donate for the auction? Mark your calendars to attend and contact them to get involved.  

2. Support HRT by wearing their t-shirt, available for a $50 donation at their website:

3. Check out HRT’s Facebook page at Liking the page will keep you informed of the rescues they perform and the progress being made during this funding crisis.

Please lend a hand and spread the word – you never know when you, a family member or a friend may need HRT!

Andy Toyota volunteers as the current chair of Everett Mountain Rescue Unit ( and as a helicopter rescue technician for the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team. When he isn't being inserted by helicopter hoist or searching for lost hikers, Andy loves, loves backcountry skiing and mountaineering. (Andy should also mention that he loves being married to his wife, Dominica even more than backcountry skiing.) In his spare time, Andy handles their airscent K9 Tundra on search missions and practices EMT-basic skills on said lost hikers whenever they are found. To help fund his passion for the outdoors, Andy resorted to starting up several technology companies including his present, Like many of you, he gets easily distracted by everything that the Pacific Northwest has to offer so his interests are varied. For further information, you can reach him at

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