King County search and rescue are on the ready as avalanche danger increases in Cascades

New snow, rain, and wind can trigger large and deadly avalanches in the Cascades, and King County Search and Rescue are on the ready.

The team of volunteer paramedics, pilots, and rescue specialists take their rescue helicopter to eastern King County and conduct hoist rescue training every week.

"What the helicopter allows us to do is fly into a tight location over the top of the victim and maintain a very precise hover and lift that victim straight up," said Sgt. Eric Dagnon with King County Search and Rescue.

The type of avalanches likely this time of year in the backcountry are avalanches that change the terrain.

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"They reroute rivers, they move large boulders, and they tear down trees, so if backcountry travelers get caught in one of these avalanches, there is a high likelihood that they will not survive," said Dagnon.

If you are caught in an avalanche, help may not come for hours or even days because avalanche conditions can persist for up to 48 hours after the incident and the terrain may be too dangerous for rescuers.

"You are responsible for your own rescue or the rescue of others in your party, which is why I stress: be trained and have the equipment; a beacon, probe, and a shovel," said Dagnon.

If you're just not confident in the terrain, Dagnon recommends heading back to safer ground because it is not worth losing your life over.

RELATED: Avalanche Safety