“They do not pay for your rescue”
Colorado Search and Rescue teams are non-profit organizations that get their funding primarily from grants, donations and other fundraising efforts. That means little or no direct state or federal funding, and rescues are often expensive endeavors that cost thousands of dollars, especially if a helicopter and other equipment gets involved.
Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue cards (CORSAR) provide another means for search and rescue teams to secure some reimbursements for costs incurred from conducting missions. The key is, the person being rescued needs to have the card in order for the SAR team to apply for reimbursement for things like fuel and broken equipment. They cost $3 for one year or $12 for five years.
If you have a current fishing or hunting license, then you are already covered by the fund. Similarly, registration of a recreational vehicle—including snowmobiles and ATVs—also qualifies as coverage.
However, the cards “do not pay for your rescue,” says Crested Butte Search and Rescue President Nicholas Kempin. “The cards allow us to be reimbursed for expenses we incur during a rescue.”
If a patient requires a helicopter rescue and transport, the patient is responsible for the associated costs. If the SAR team uses a helicopter to access a scene, but no patient uses the helicopter, it is up to the SAR team to cover the costs. And if the person being rescued has the CORSAR card, then the SAR team can request reimbursement from the CORSAR fund.
Even though the cards don’t cover an individual’s rescue costs, contributing to the CORSAR fund by purchasing a card helps support the vital services provided by volunteer search and rescue teams.
“It’s still a great idea,” Kempin said, even if the card doesn’t directly cover SAR operations. In a recreation-centric place like Crested Butte, the SAR team conducts frequent missions on minimal funding, which makes every reimbursement opportunity important.
According to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, “Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue.”
The CORSAR cards are available for purchase locally at the Mt. Crested Butte Police Department, and online at: www.dola.colorado.gov/.