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Volunteers help county in search and rescue

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The bare-framed aluminum building sits brightly lit in the darkness of a cold, cold night. Inside, it holds more than 20 volunteers, each dressed in snow gear and the bitter cold.

On a night boasting 11-degree temperatures, the fact that the volunteers of the Tipton County Emergency Unit unhesitatingly meet should not surprise.

It shouldn’t because it is an honor to be a part of this unit, an acknowledgement of dedication and hard work to wear the uniform.

Chief Lloyd Blyue explained the procedure. “If a person is interested in joining us, they have to seek us out and fill out an application. We don’t just take anyone. We check references and background information and after being voted in, they must complete a minimum requirement of working 80 hours in six months.

"We recognize that family and career are first, but this is a commitment as well and there is a mandatory attendance requirement of 80 percent of the jobs.”

New members are also expected to have CPR training within the first six months, but no later than the first year in the unit. The unit meets thrice a month, with two training days and one corporate meeting. Some of the members are firemen, but most are regular citizens who wanted to help make a difference.

This is a relatively new team, with the majority of volunteers having less than two years experience on the unit. The group averages around seven or eight calls a year that are not storm related. Storms are a different story; for storms, the team is on standby to assist the county.

“We work on land, in water and with public works, said Blyue. “We’re not trained for fires, but we do help out at the scenes by directing traffic. We’re here to provide assistance to county departments in the case of an emergency. We look for lost persons, especially lost children, and we have one dog in training for such events.”

The two commanders, Lloyd Blyue and Troy Blyue, have worked with this unit a cumulative of 30 years, both retiring from the unit at some point and both returning to work they love.

According to Blyue, the unit is able to provide assistance to the entire county, unlike the police, sheriff and fire departments, which are district bound.

“We make group decisions, because we’re a team. Every time we go out into the field, we come back and talk about how things could go better, we are always striving for continuous improvement.” said Lt. David Womack.

For more information about volunteering or to donate to the Tipton County Emergency Unit, go to www.facebook.com/tiptoncountysearchandrescue.

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