Forest Lakes, AZ – Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Snow Cat and Search and Rescue volunteers were utilized to transport a patient from Young, AZ to waiting ambulance to a hospital in Payson, AZ.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office had deployed and pre-positioned a Snow Cat with a Search and Rescue crew to Forest Lakes in preparation for the heavy snow fall.  The crew and machine were in place to respond to and support the communities of Forest Lakes and Heber in Navajo County.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office coordinated with the Forest Lakes Fire Department over deployment of the Snow Cat. Forest Lakes Fire would support the operation with housing the crew and placing paramedics on the snow cat. Forest Lakes Fire had coordinated with surrounding Fire Departments and ambulance companies of the added resource of the snow cat.

Around 8:00 PM the Pleasant Valley Fire Department and Life Line Ambulance responded to a diabetic emergency in Young, AZ. Life Line Ambulance, knowing they could not make it to the call due to impassable roads, contacted Forest Lakes Fire requesting the snow cat response. The search and rescue crew with Forest Lakes Fire paramedics responded near Young.

The Snow Cat and crew traveled approximately 12 miles towards Young during heavy snow fall with visibility down to 10 feet. They arrived at the patient shortly after 10:00 PM where Pleasant Valley Fire transferred the patient to the Snow Cat and paramedics.

The crew traveled the 12 miles back to State Route 260, then transported the patient another 6 miles to ColCourd Camp Ground in Gila County (between Forest Lakes and Payson) and transferred the patient to Life Line Ambulance. Life Line was able to transport the patient to a hospital in Payson.

The Forest Lakes Fire Department, Pleasant Valley Fire Department, Life Line Ambulance, United States Forest Service Law Enforcement, Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputy and Search and Rescue volunteers were involved in this operation

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the agencies for their pre-planning, communication, coordination and participation in making this operation and response a success.