Jena Doak, [email protected]
Sweetwater County, Wyoming — Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) and Sweetwater County Search and Rescue are promoting to the public the “Be 307 Aware” program, which is a dedicated radio channel that helps locate people who have already contacted dispatch in need of help. The program is being promoted statewide.
This is a growing program that is not government funded, and the technology is not new. It resulted from a conversation between first responders.
Any handheld two-way radio with the Family Radio Service (FRS) or the General Radio Mobile Service (GRMS) can actually be used to communicate in real-time with Search and Rescue in the event a person is lost, hurt or stranded in the backcountry.
Sweetwater County Sheriffs Office Patrol Sergeant and Search and Rescue team leader, Rich Kaumo, explained in a press release that increasingly more outdoor enthusiasts do carry the FRS and GRMS capable radios and walkie-talkies.
“While the 307 frequency is not a replacement for 911 and is not actively monitored by first responders until a search is in progress, making use of this existing technology in a coordinated way is an effective tool for our search and rescue personnel in greatly reducing the time it takes to locate people in an outdoor emergency situation,” Kaumo said.
Besides contacting 911, which most phones will access even if there is no cell reception, people can also notify emergency dispatch through the Smart911 or Backcountry SOS apps. Once first responders are deployed by any of these methods, their two-way radios are monitored for real time communication with the party they are searching for.
While using a FRS/GMRS capable radio, a person simply must remember “307.” The radio needs to be on channel three, and “07” is the privacy code.
“It’s another tool. Depending on the situation, you may not have the exact GPS coordinates,” said Deputy Jason Mower, SCSO Public Affairs Officer. “The ‘Be 307 Aware’ program is another tool for communication, where you can speak in real-time to the people you are trying to help.”
FRS/GRMS capable radios may be purchased for $60 to $200 at retailers and online.
A party who is lost, injured, or stranded will be located sooner by using the “Be 307 Aware” with a handheld, two-way radio.