First Responder: Aaron Davidson, Winter Park
Aaron Davidson, 27, is a rescue-level member of Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR), board member, and incident commander.
He lives in Old Town Winter Park and is originally from St. Louis, Mo. He moved to Winter Park to be a ski patroller in winter and bike patroller in summer. He participates in GCSAR year-round.
Why did you join GCSAR?
I joined because it is fun and I’m interested in backcountry survival and skiing. It is a great avenue to get out and learn skills, and to help people.
What is the best part of being a member of GCSAR?
Giving back to the community. I have a medical and first responder background. I attended college for athletic training and medicine. After joining GCSAR I became more interested in wilderness medicine.
What happens during the first five minutes of getting a page?
The adrenaline flows, you gear up, get your survival clothes on. We initially don’t have that much information, so you have to have all your gear ready. My car is always packed with technical and avalanche gear. When we are on scene, we get briefed by the incident commander, we evaluate the scene and make sure it’s safe.
What does it take to be good at this?
You need to love to be outside and be called at all hours. It takes a certain attitude to put yourself on the line to help other people. Most of us go into our rescue thinking, “We are going to help this person and hopefully it will be a good outcome.” It takes a certain mindset to leave everything behind, to go out and save a life. We deal with traumatic incidents that someone may never see in their lifetime. We all support each other and if a team member is going through a rough time we help them out and we get through it. It’s a team aspect, we take care of each other.
What about family?
Our families let us go out in the middle of night. I have a very understanding girlfriend who knows what I do, and puts up with it.
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Grand County’s four dispatchers are working 12 hour shifts alone.