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March 20, 2018

3/7/2018 11:01:00 AM
Search and rescue call becomes great trial run

By Anne Hays, special report
All’s well that ends well! A call to Shelter Bay staff Saturday reported that a group of children were seen playing in the water around Martha’s Beach when the tide was out on Saturday, but were not seen returning after the tide had come in later in the day. Fears were compounded by the fact that a bicycle and children’s clothing and personal belongings were left behind at the beach.
The call was relayed to 911 by Shelter Bay staff. Emergency responders arrived right away, immediately set up a command post and started systematically searching for the child or children. When I got to the scene, the police and search and rescue squad were conducting infrared drone searches, deploying rescue swimmers in the water, police boats were searching, and trails and woods were being scoured on foot by a multitude of patrols.
After a police request to send out a Shelter Bay All Call Emergency notification, an important “piece of the puzzle” as Deputy Esskew called it, was received. A Shelter Bay resident had called and was able to relay information about seeing the children and a vehicle seemingly with them. That information was immediately put into use by the police districts on hand and in a matter of minutes, literally, the not-lost child was located safely at his home by way of a police conducted house by house canvass looking for the vehicle described by the good Shelter Bay Samaritan.
This story ended so well. We are especially grateful for the rapid, professional and impressive police response. Hindsight being what it is – for next time, please, if you see something that does not appear right, no matter what the circumstance, please don’t hesitate, call 911. Precious time was spent rerouting the call from the Shelter Bay answering service to the emergency dispatch. I understand, one wants to spare the police from having to respond to non-events – but we shouldn’t. Our own Safety Committee, who are in close contact with the local police jurisdictions have repeatedly urged us all to call 911 first!

Again, thanks for a very happy ending. And if you haven’t already please, Shelter Bay residents, stop by the office and update your emergency contact information.
Again, thanks to Swinomish Police Departments Chief Lou D’Amelio, Sgt. Steve Roukie, Officer Val Lockrem, Officer David Schwahn, Officer Buddy Gray, Officer John Riddle, Community Service Officer Brian Geer, Jason Lee (IT Director for the tribe with his drone) and all responding personnel from Skagit Bay Search & Rescue, Skagit Co Sheriff’s Office, and the Red Cross for a very happy ending. And if you haven’t already, please Shelter Bay residents, stop by the office and update your emergency contact information.
Anne Hays, president of the Shelter Bay Board of Directors, provided this report as a letter to the Weekly News Monday afternoon.

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