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Two Bear Air has a rare rescue device

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-22 19:50:42-05

KALISPELL – Two Bear Air Search and Rescue has a rare rescue device that could save your life.

This device is called a RECCO detector, and it’s on loan from the RECCO company.

Currently, there are only seven that exist in the world and Two Bear Air was the first in North America to receive one.

The detector works with tags and patches on clothing. And the clothing doesn’t have to be new. Chuck Curry with Two Bear Air tells us he found a RECCO tag on the inside of a jacket he had owned for 20 years.

Pilot Jim Pierce explains to us exactly how the technology works.

“The RECCO is a passive reflector system that they put in clothing, on items of gear and things like that, that doesn’t require a battery or any power on the person. So the RECCO detector when we use that we have the opportunity to find people that are buried or lost.”

Working similarly to an avalanche beacon, once lowered, the device will transmit a series of beeps to the crew in the helicopter. From there, the rescue team can map out a grid and focus in on where the person is located.

The RECCO is so accurate, it gets rescue teams within feet of the person needing assistance.

Curry says this device is important for search and rescue when seconds matter between life and death.

“We’ve spent a lot of time on searches looking for people, not always successfully, this is just one more tool in our tool kit to be able to rapidly find people, who are lost, who are buried.”