Washington Guard Response Includes Fatality Recovery Team

By Austin Jenkins

The Washington National Guard has deployed an 11-member fatality recovery team to Snohomish County. It has also sent a 50-member search and extraction unit. These specially-trained Guard members will help at the scene of the massive landslide near Oso. 

Karina Shagren is with the Washington Military Department. She says the decision to send the fatality team acknowledges the reality on the ground, but does not signify a shift from rescue to recovery mode.

Karina Shagren: “I think Snohomish County has been pretty clear that they haven’t seen any signs of life since this weekend, but nobody has said that this is a recovery mission yet. We’re just helping to provide resources in any way we can.”

Shagren says National Guard helicopters are also on stand-by to assist. In the days to come, state officials will play a key role in assessing the damage so that the state can receive federal disaster funds.

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