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OCSD welcomes first female Search & Rescue flight crew

As the Sheriff’s Department’s Search and Rescue Program continues to expand and introduce new members to the team, we were honored this year to welcome the first female flight crew to the unit.

Reserve Pilot Jonna Clouse donates hours as the department’s first female Search and Rescue pilot when she’s not flying over the ocean during her full-time gig as a pilot with the Coast Guard, where she has served for more than nine years.

Clouse joined the Aviation Support Unit as a reserve in February and has completed seven rescue missions so far, including coming to the aid of an injured hiker on Dec. 23.

Deputy Cuzynski, an EMT before coming to the Sheriff’s Department more than five years ago, joined the Search and Rescue team in September. And Deputy Dolan, a three-year member of the OCSD and also an EMT, joined in October.

The deputy EMTs join a robust roster of flight medics that includes paramedics, nurses and fellow EMTs to provide medical services during search and rescue missions.

Although the Sheriff’s Department has been performing search and rescue missions since 1985, it wasn’t until recent years that OCSD focused on ramping up its reserve force to expand Search and Rescue capabilities.

The ASU was accredited by the Orange County Emergency Medical Services (OCEMS) as a BLS Air Rescue Provider in April 2015.  A year later, ASU trained medical personnel on advanced helicopter techniques, and in May 2016 the team completed its first medical search and rescue mission.

In September 2016, the ASU received its Advanced Life Support Program accreditation, making the Sheriff’s Department one of only two law enforcement agencies in the state (the California Highway Patrol is the other) to earn this designation.

Reserve Pilot Jonna Clouse

 

From left: Deputy Dolan and Deputy Cuzynski, ASU flight medics, get ready to board Duke 6.

 Deputy Dolan, flight medic with the OCSD ASU, puts on her helmet before flight.

 From left: Deputy Cuzynski, Deputy Dolan and Reserve Pilot Clouse aboard Duke 6.