Bingham County Search and Rescue is searching for land to build a facility to operate from. Officials have found one location, but they need more help from the community.
The search and rescue group is made up entirely of volunteers. They assist law enforcement in locating people who are in distress or imminent danger, or who are missing.
“We’re currently homeless,” said Mike Fresh, vice commander for the organization. It is scattered throughout Bingham County, with expensive search equipment being temporarily stored at the homes of various members.
“Any time there is a call-out or any kind of emergency, we have to shuffle to figure out where the trailers and equipment are, and how to get everything together,” Fresh said.
ATVs, UTVs, and snowmobiles are among the largest equipment needed for an efficient search response. The group also has a large sonar system used for water search and rescue. That sonar system helped find the body of a man who drowned in American Falls this summer. One of only three known sonar systems in the state. It’s now being stored in the back of a trailer.
“A building for the group is needed “to assemble everything and have everything together,” Fresh said. “We’ll be able to get everything that is necessary to be one of the best search and rescue teams around.”
The facility could also be a central location for volunteers to assemble before a search, a training area for new recruits, and a place to hold fund-raisers.
The location chosen for the search and rescue facility is in back of the Bingham County Central Transfer Station in Blackfoot. It was once a shooting range used by the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office.
However, before any construction can begin, financial assistance is needed. The total estimated cost is $125,000. The group’s annual lobster fundraiser won’t be able to raise the funds all by itself. So the group is asking the community for donations toward the facility.
If you would like to help donate to the group’s efforts, call the Bingham County Sheriff’s Office at 208-785-4440. A gofundme page has not been set up yet, but the group will post a link to its Facebook page soon.