Porter County Search and Rescue Team Receives Grant

The Porter County Search and Rescue Team recently received a grant of more than $3,900 from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security for gear and equipment that will assist in their efforts to find missing individuals in the Region.

“Without this grant, we would not have been able to purchase protective helmets for all our members. With so many of our searches occurring at night and in all weather conditions, the ability to protect yourself from a fall or being hit by a branch is very important,” says Micah Bell, Director and Co-Founder of the team. Bell says the lightweight climbing style helmets are an essential part of a Team Members Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and without this lightweight helmet, many members would be wearing a heavy structural firefighting helmet while on foot in wooded areas. He says those helmets provide protection from falling branches, but their increased weight can add to extra fatigue after hours of searching through wooded areas and rough terrain.

In addition to the helmets, Bell says the team will also be acquiring something commonly known as a “Stokes Basket” that will aid rescuers in getting someone from the woods or beach, for instance, to a waiting ambulance. It has an “all-terrain tire” attached and breaks down into two parts that can be carried on rescuers’ backs.

The Porter County Search and Rescue Team is an all-volunteer organization founded in 2014 by Bell and Jay Craig Jr, the Chief of the Porter Fire Department and one of the team’s K9 handlers. Bell says the team responds to an average of 14 missing person calls per year and has 26 members from agencies in Porter and Lake Counties. For more information: www.portercountysar.org or www.facebook.com/PorterCountySAR .

Porter County Search and Rescue (SAR) Team Members pose with helmets purchased through an Indiana Department of Homeland Security Grant. Pictured Left to right, John Clapp, Paul Ritchey, Jan Barnwell, Trish Green, Andy Himan Jr, Micah Bell (Photo provided)