The Okanogan County Sheriff's Office is looking for volunteers to join its Search & Rescue unit.

The county currently has about 60 members on its Search & Rescue team, but deputy spokesperson Rick Balam says they need more help.

"They're pretty much scattered around the county with a little heavier presence in the Methow Valley. I think that's probably because a larger percentage of our missions end up in the Methow Valley. So I'd like to get a little healthier presence on the Okanogan/Omak side. We have a few on this side but not as many as I'd like."

Balam says the need to increase the county's Search & Rescue volunteer presence is mainly due to a continuing uptick in calls for assistance.

"It looks like our numbers are going up each year. I just did a five-year survey and it does appear that things are becoming more active, especially in the Methow (Valley)."

It's not required that volunteers have any experience in law enforcement or as first responders.

All volunteers will receive proper training and can join one of Okanogan County Search & Rescue's various divisions as their primary standby, including mountain or swiftwater rescue, and K-9 or foot search.

Those who are interested in volunteering can contact the Search & Rescue Recruiting Committee at 509-449-5729.

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