ANTELOPE VALLEY – On Saturday (Dec. 15), Palmdale Sheriff’s Station was advised of two stranded hikers atop Mount Baden-Powell, in the Angeles National Forest. One of the hikers was beginning to experience hypothermia from the cold weather conditions.
The Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team and Los Angeles County Fire Department were immediately called into action.
A sheriff’s helicopter spotted the stranded hikers and called for the Fire Department’s rescue helicopter. The rescue helicopter landed and picked up the stranded hikers, taking them to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Training Facility in Wrightwood.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members provided initial first aid treatment to one of the hikers. Los Angeles County Fire Paramedics continued first aid treatment and released the hiker from the rescue facility. The 17 and 22-year-old hikers are brothers from Rolling Hills Estates in southwest Los Angeles County.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Commander John Johnston commented, “This is a perfect example of why it’s important to pay attention to weather predictions when planning a hike. Make sure you have food, water and suitable clothing in the event the weather changes. It is also important to always hike with a partner, to never separate, and to always tell someone your hiking route and the time you expect to return.”
Commander Johnston also stated, “These hikers were very lucky. Had the call come in an hour later, the sun would have gone down and the temperature would have dropped. Depending on the circumstances the rescue helicopter may not have been able to fly due to the inclement weather. We would have had to hike in and out, which would have taken a considerable amount of time. When you are exposed to the cold and your core body temperature starts to drop, you must get warm or you risk going into shock.”
Although the team primarily searches for lost hikers, they are also called upon to assist with the search of lost children and adults suffering from diminished mental capacity disorders in urban environments as well.
Los Angeles County has eight search and rescue teams who average over 350 rescue missions a year. This makes Los Angeles County one of the most active counties for search and rescue operations in the nation.
Over 100 Search and Rescue team members are Reserve Deputy Sheriffs who give their time and risk their lives on a moments’ notice – for one dollar a year.
The Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team is a non-profit organization under the supervision of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. All team members are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) or paramedics and are highly trained in mountaineering, survival skills and search and rescue techniques. Team members have agreed to respond on an as needed basis 24/7 to perform rescue operations in the mountainous regions of Los Angeles County. For information on becoming a member, visit www.avsearchandrescue.com or www.palmdalevolunteers.com.
(Information via press release from Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.)