New addition for Custer County SAR creates faster response times

Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 11:24 AM CDT
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CUSTER, S.D. (KOTA) - What used to be an old physical therapy building for Regional Health is now the primary headquarters for Custer County Search and Rescue, which was donated to them by the city of Custer.

And just last year, Custer County funded a new addition for the building.

“Having a facility that is located in town and can house our initial response vehicles has improved our response time with search and rescue. Since we respond to ‘assist with medical emergencies’ and critical situations, improving the response time is potentially life-saving,” said Sam Smolnisky who is the new director for Custer County Search and Rescue.

And just in time, the Custer County Search and Rescue had one of their busiest times yet in 2020.

“A lot of our calls are injured hikers and so we re

spond with the ambulance and instead of having to go out of town, get our equipment, and come back and being 20-30 minutes behind the ambulance sometimes we’re right behind them which is huge for the community that we serve,” said Smolnisky.

This expansion is not the only new thing, the department just got a grant from the Department of Homeland Security where they were able to buy a new ride.

“Our most recent one was for a new side by side which is a Yamaha Viking, it’s a six-seater, and it’s great because it’s able to move more people so that means a faster response and also less times us being on the trail,” said Smolnisky.

Smolnisky is excited to be able to have new equipment and a new building to better serve the Black Hills community.

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