Volunteers needed. That's the call Gulf Coast Search and Rescue is hoping a few good people will answer. The team currently has 25 people from the three coastal counties, but more help is needed.
"We're always looking to expand into the different areas, because, of course, the more members we have in the different counties the faster our response in those areas will be," says Carlos Redmon, President of Gulf Coast Search and Rescue.
It takes almost a year to be properly trained in search and rescue. There are three different levels a search and rescue technician can achieve. But, it's not just people who are needed, the group also needs four legged volunteers. But search and rescue dogs must sign on very young.
"You need to have a younger dog. You can't start in search and rescue with a three or four-year-old. It'll get you way behind," says Redmon.
One-year-old Bumper, a Newfoundland breed, is training now.
"A Newfoundland is a natural water rescue dog. Their job is to rescue drowning victims," says Barbie Balyeat with Gulf Coast Search and Rescue.
Bumper's owner Barbie Balyeat has three search and rescue dogs. Like people, it takes dogs about a year to go through training. Those who help the dogs train say it's time well spent.
"It's fun working with the dogs. The dogs are a hoot. It's a lot of work. It's very rewarding. The ultimate thing is closure for families," says Balyeat. T
he team says they 'll have a better chance of providing that closure for families, if more people step up to join the search and rescue team.
To help pay for the costs of search and rescue gear, Gulf Coast Search and Rescue will a hold fundraiser this Friday and Saturday. It'll be a Cajun, Country Swamp Pop Music Fest at the Harrison County Fairgrounds.
If you're interested in volunteering, call (228) 323-4743.