AUGUSTA — The Maine Warden Service, the lead agency for search and rescues in Maine’s woods and on inland waters, has been called out to 116 search-and-rescues across the state since April 1, putting it on track to reaching its annual average of 480.
On Sunday, game wardens searched for a missing boater in Weston whose body was recovered in Deering Lake, 5 miles north of Danforth. The boater was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) and drowned. The wearing of PFDs is an issue that wardens educate boaters about throughout the spring and summer.
Since April 1, the Maine Warden Service has received 38 calls for lost or distressed boaters, 14 calls for missing children, and 10 calls for lost or injured hikers.
Lt. Kevin Adam, Maine Warden Service search and rescue coordinator, said that when the weather is nice – usually spring and fall – the number of calls to search for people suffering from an illness increases. This spring, wardens searched for eight people with Alzheimer’s, seven people who were despondent, six people with autism, and eight people who were reported to be contemplating suicide.
Maine has a new “silver alert” system, activated statewide when an elderly person suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or other illness and has access to a vehicle or public transportation and is reported missing.
Lt. Adam suggests that when using any outdoor recreational vehicle, do not drink alcohol. When boating, always wear your PFD and when on an ATV, always wear a helmet.
He says to carry a survival kit, with food, water, batteries, matches, a flashlight and other essentials; and to make sure your emergency plan includes more than dialing 911 on a cell phone. Many areas in Maine do not have cell coverage. “If you are lost or injured, do not call your family and friends first. Call 911,” Lt. Adam said.
If someone is missing from your house, camp or on your trip, take 15 to 20 minutes to look for them. If you cannot find them, call 911.
When hiking, make sure you have proper footwear, and that you are physically capable for the hike you are attempting.