Mid-South rescuers fine-tune search and rescue skills - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Mid-South rescuers fine-tune search and rescue skills

(WMC-TV) - If you saw dozens of emergency responders at Shelby County's Wolf River Park today, don't worry, it was only a drill. Rescuers held a mock search and rescue to fine-tune their skills.

Helicopters, horses, amphibious vehicles; every piece of equipment at the Shelby County Sheriff's disposal were put to work Saturday.

"Technology is always changing so we like to have training exercises like this to keep up with the latest and greatest technology," said Lieutenant Derek Mills of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office staged a massive mock search and rescue drill at Wolf River Park. It began at noon, and lasted into the dark of night.

"We incorporated all the other agencies across the Mid-South we commonly reach out to in the case of a missing or endangered person or a child that's missing," said Mills.

The Memphis Police Department and DeSoto County law enforcement forces joined the effort. Different jurisdictions often collaborate. Canines and volunteers are critical components in a search.

"We do water rescues, we do wood searches. Anytime somebody's missing or endangered, we will deploy our troops," said Sergeant Wes Banks of the Shelby County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services.

The sheriff's Emergency Services unit has 136 volunteers. Saturday's drill is larger than the usual bi-monthly drills where responders rehearse to get out any kinks before a real situation happens.

"It let's the other agencies know our capabilities and our equipment and how we are trained to use them," added Banks.

"Time is of the essence on these calls. We need to be able to quickly respond, have the tools and equipment ready to get the job done," said Mills.

Emergency Services accepts applications for volunteers. To order an application by phone, call: (901) 222-5875 or visit their website: http://www.shelby-sheriff.org/files/scsoapp.pdf.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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