SWEETWATER COUNTY — Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and Sweetwater County Search and Rescue are pleased to promote the new Be 307 Aware program, which is a dedicated radio channel accessible by any handheld two-way radio with Family Radio Service (FRS) or General Mobile Radio Service (GRMS) that can be used by outdoor recreationalists to communicate with first responders in the event of an emergency.
Wyoming search and rescue personnel conduct an average of more than 300 missions annually across the state for those who become injured, lost or stranded. The most common missions involve searches for people who are hunting, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing/snowboarding, or who are stranded in the middle of nowhere in a motor vehicle.
The Be 307 Aware program was born from a collaborative effort between the Wyoming State Search and Rescue (SAR) Council, the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and the Wyoming All Hazards Association, and is now being promoted statewide in an effort to more quickly locate those in need of emergency assistance while outdoors or in the backcountry.
Once a search is initiated, search and rescue teams and the party in need of assistance can tune to the 307 frequency on their handheld radios and communicate with each other.
Rich Kaumo, a SCSO patrol sergeant and search and rescue team leader, explained, “More and more hunters, snowmobiler riders, all-terrain vehicle operators, and backcountry enthusiasts carry FRS- and GRMS-capable radios and walkie-talkies with them these days as a matter of routine.”
“While the 307 frequency is not a replacement for 911 and is not actively monitored by first responders until a search is in progress, making use of this existing technology in a coordinated way is an effective tool for our search and rescue personnel in greatly reducing the time it takes to locate people in an outdoor emergency situation,” Kaumo added.
FRS- and GRMS-capable radios are available at numerous retailers across the state and online, with an average cost between $60 and $200, Kaumo said. For those who do not own one of these radios, or for those seeking additional safety measures, Kaumo encouraged people to also download the Smart 911 or Backcountry SOS apps. Both mobile apps make use of the GPS features of modern smartphones, which allows first responders and search rescue personnel to more quickly locate people, even if they are in an area with poor cellular reception or without cellular service altogether.
A helpful video by Backcountry Access demonstrating how to program radios is available on YouTube.
For more information, please visit the sheriff’s office and ‘Be 307 Aware’ program Facebook pages.