A Reputation Built on Experience

As we near the end of the year, I’d like to once again thank all of you for an outstanding year of service. With a little less than a month left in 2012, we’re on track for a slightly lower than average callout year.This past year we’ve had 47 callouts.

As you all know, training and planning takes much of your time to be mission-ready. When we combine training, planning and actual operations, the team has logged over 40,000 hours in service this year. This is an incredible number and a testament to your dedication to the mission. All 200-plus members participated at varying levels to make this a great year for the team.

Of the 47 missions, 16 were mutual-aid requests to counties other than Contra Costa. This number is slightly more than our average. The big difference was the number of Type 1 out-of-county calls the team responded to. Seven calls were true Type 1 calls. Over the past few years, the average Type 1 mission tempo has been two to three. I equate this increase to the team’s reputation and not to the number of opportunities.

More and more this year our team has been specifically requested by outside agencies to assist. This is a direct result of the hard work and professionalism the team lives by. The team’s reputation is a byproduct of that hard work.

We’ve had some pretty significant calls where the team truly made a difference in the outcome. Without going into details on each mission, I want to convey the appreciation the department has for your dedicated service. Every time you participate in a SAR event, you have the potential to make a difference.

A Search and Rescue career is based on education and experience. Active participation has a cumulative effect for every team member, whether a brand new academy student or a veteran with years of experience. It is one thing to take a class, but nothing beats the learning experience of a real-world search. When we call you out on a search, it’s because we need your help to come make a difference for the missing or at-risk person. When you do respond to the callout, you make an immediate impact on someone’s life, and while doing that, you learn and gain valuable experience to be better prepared for future missions.