‘Go-now’ policy passes test | PostIndependent.com

‘Go-now’ policy passes test

Garfield Search and Rescue rushed to the scene of a deadly backcountry plane crash without delay Tuesday.

The response is in contrast to the Feb. 24 search for the young victim of a snowmobiling avalanche accident.

In that incident, the sheriff’s department lost about 90 minutes of daylight in debating whether the avalanche was in Garfield, Pitkin or Mesa counties before mobilizing the search and rescue team.

The 90 minutes would not have saved the Rifle High School senior caught in the slide, but it would have helped his companions get to safety sooner.

Immediately after the incident, Sheriff Tom Dalessandri implemented a new “go now” policy, which is basically to answer calls for help first and sort out the boundary lines later.

We commend Dalessandri for taking the humane approach.

It may result in the sheriff’s search and rescue volunteers working in other counties, but in life-or-death situations, jurisdictional lines simply shouldn’t matter.

County lines are a mixed-up jumble in the high country. An accident or search may be in one county, but the easy access is from another.

Dalessandri’s next step would be to ask the sheriffs in neighboring counties to adopt similar policies. Over time, rescue efforts should balance out.

And with Dalessandri’s “go now” policy, there should be no more second-guessing the outstanding work done by our our search and rescue volunteers.

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