Pennington County Search and Rescue team is searching for new recruits

RAPID CITY, S.D. –It’s a tough job – being a member of the Pennington County Search and Rescue team. It’s a time commitment and requires a great deal of mental and physical endurance when out on a job. But members say the benefits are worth it.

The team has a recruitment open house next Tuesday, December 3rd at their 140 E. Main Street location, starting at 6:30 p.m. They are hoping they can bring in more people to this vital resource.

“Some of the calls we do are vehicle extractions, rope rescue, we deal, a lot of the time, with falling rock,” says James Dietz, Operations Officer.  “We had some calls out on Sheep Mountain Table, out in the Badlands, earlier this year. We were in a rain storm, thunderstorm going off a 40-60 foot cliff. There’s some very interesting calls. They are dangerous, but we know at the end of the day we can get someone back, safe and sound. It’s a very rewarding experience.”

Training is the ultimate time commitment. In the first half of the year there are about five weekends devoted to instruction. The basic training will take up to six months, with a total two years allowed for completion.

It is not required that people drop their schedules – it’s based on availability that people respond to a call. In a year, there is an average of 100 calls. For 2019, there have been 124 calls and over 5,000 logged hours by volunteers.

It’s hard work, but gratifying. The Penn. Co. Search and Rescue team is a family – protecting a 3,000 sq. miles community.


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