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Search and rescue teams rely on canines


TETON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)- It's the time of year when we hear more and more about avalanche safety. The Teton County Search and Rescue team helps respond to our local mountains when needed. Dogs are often used with teams to quickly locate people.

Jason O'Neill- Director of the group says, "For the search work in general, whether it's avalanche or area search the K-9s really effective for time. Especially in avalanche they can be really fast compared to and keep team members at safe distances while the K-9's go in and work. So you can instead of having a 10 person pro blind walking across the avalanche site, you can have a single dog work that site. And they're fast, they can find people in a couple of minutes." The dogs go through years of training that continues through the dogs lives.

For volunteers, they meet and train at a facility in Driggs that houses their equipment. The group O'Neill is in charge of is around 30 people from all walks of life. The biggest requirement is having ability and skill in the mountains.

O'Neill says you can stay safe and enjoy the outdoors this time of year. It takes education and awareness to avoid the dangers of a deadly avalanche.

The group raises around 80% of the necessary costs themselves. That goes to things like snowmobiles. They rely on fundraisers which involve the community. For more information visit,

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