The Vermont Legislature is expected to formalize a new policy outlining search and rescue policies and procedures.
The effort comes following the tragic death of Levi Duclos in January 2011. The 19-year-old New Haven resident died of hypothermia after becoming injured hiking on a trail in Ripton. Though state police responded to a call from Duclos' mother the night he didn't come, it wasn't until the next morning that a coordinated search was initiated, and by then it was too late.
A committee has been working over the past several months to improve lines of communication between the state and many of the primarily volunteer rescue groups.
"I think there is perhaps a heightened sense of awareness and urgency, particularly during the winter when the weather is cold, that we need to get a quick and thorough response to calls for assistance or reports of people that are overdue," said Neil Van Dyke of Stowe Mountain Rescue.
Van Dyke says one key recommendation the Legislature will likely take up is the creation of a new search and rescue coordinator position within the state police, along with an improved database of search and rescue partners.
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