The Tetons

Description of rescue at Grand Tetons National Park

Our rescue program in Grand Teton National Park is staffed entirely by 20
National Park Service (NPS) Rangers, they are all climbers that have been
specifically trained in mountain rescue operations, emergency medical
skills, and helicopter operations. The average tenure for one of these
rangers is about 10+ years with a cumulative tenure of over 250 years. As
for Rescue Protocols, as you already know, we are part of the US
Government, and therefore are under the oversight of the NPS Policy. Our
policy states that we are responsible for any and all Search and Rescue
(SAR) missions inside our park boundary, it does not dictate how the
missions are to be conducted. So we don’t really have a Rescue Protocol per
se. If we do write any protocols, we author all of the documents that we
will work from with oversight from the chain of command.
To sum up our operation, each day we have a designated SAR Coordinator that
takes all of the incoming SAR information and decides how we will respond.
Once the rescue group is together, we, as a whole, decide on the
appropriate type of response we will make, based on several factors like
weather, location and risk assessment. That is a short “down and dirty”
description on how our operation works. The command structure for the
rescue is similar to a small military operation. The funding for all
equipment, training and the missions themselves, come from the tax payers,
with some occasional assistance from grateful rescuees. Training is done on
a constant basis, in house, with instructors brought in on occasion for
specific techniques.

–information provided by Grand Tetons Park Ranger

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