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Team members demonstrate the rescue of a swimmer.

Team members demonstrate the rescue of a swimmer.

The men and women of the Utah County Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue Team work as volunteers, paying their own way, providing their own gear and sacrificing personal time to help those who get into trouble in Utah County's forests, lakes and caves.

Team members train year-round for water, mountain and land rescues. They work with dogs. They become experts in CPR, basic first aid, rappelling, tracking and avalanche control.

There are 45 members of the team who respond to nearly 100 distress calls each year across the county.

In 2000, they provided 7,535 hours of volunteer service on 58 missions.

In 2002, the team provided 11,300 volunteer service hours on 86 call-outs, plus another 2,200 hours of training.

That represents $230,000 in savings to the taxpayers, said Sgt. Tom Hodgson, and a great benefit not only to residents but to those visiting Utah County and its recreation sites.

"If we had to pay for that, we couldn't do it," Hodgson said.

Source: Utah County Search and Rescue Public Information Officer