Truckee Tahoe Airport District awards Nevada County Search and Rescue for Truckee Command Vehicle

Submitted to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. – Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, responds to over 100 incidents per year in conjunction with the Sheriff’s Office to locate persons who are lost or in danger. Timely response to incidences is critical, and thanks to a recent grant award from the Truckee Tahoe Airport District and donors in the community, NCSSAR response time to Truckee incidents is expected to improve with the introduction of a new Rapid Response Mobile Command vehicle.

In July 2023, NCSSAR applied to TTAD for $60,000 in funding to help build the custom RRCM vehicle that will be primarily stationed in Truckee to better serve eastern Nevada County. This will become the second RRCM vehicle for the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office and NCSSAR, the first of which debuted in Sept. 2022, known as Rescue 5 or R5.

“Rescue 5 has become well known to our local law enforcement and fire community,” explained NCSO Sergeant Dennis Haack, who oversees NCSSAR. “Neighboring counties, such as Placer and Sierra recognize the benefits of RRCM technology and have worked with our Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue for help in advancing the successes of their own searches.” 

There are several advantages of using RRMC vehicles over a traditional Incident Command (IC) trailer, which NCSSAR also utilizes. For starters, setting up temporary cellular communications and internet connectivity takes approximately 30 minutes with IC trailer technology, but only three minutes with RRCM as the equipment is both newer and better integrated into the vehicle. Cellular and internet connectivity are used to create and disseminate search assignments to all responders simultaneously. This gives NCSSAR the opportunity to deploy teams into the field more quickly and assimilate information found during the search faster, which increases the chances of finding missing persons alive and well.

While Rescue 5 has been instrumental in searches this past year, it is stationed in Grass Valley, and thus response time to eastern county is not as efficient as it could be. In response, NCSSAR has been privately fundraising for a second RRMC vehicle to station in eastern Nevada County. Total cost for the purchase of a Sprinter van that will be transformed into RRMC, and equipped with all communications, information technology, and safety equipment is estimated to be $182,554.

TTAD recognized the value of such an addition to Truckee and this past October, they notified NCSSAR that they will fund the $60,000 in full as requested. NCSSAR has also put $60,000 into the project already, bringing total financial support for the project to $120,000, with $62,554 still needed.

“We are grateful to the Truckee Tahoe Airport District and fellow donors in the community, such as Masons Nevada 13 Lodge, the Burget family and vehicle-builder Nimbl, who upon learning about our efforts to enhance our search and rescue technology in eastern county, responded generously with donations to put us that much closer to making our second Rapid Response Mobile Command a reality,” said Sergeant Haack. “Just as with Rescue 5, our second RRMC vehicle will be available to support neighboring jurisdictions for mutual aid as well.” 

Over the next year, NCSSAR will continue to fundraise the remaining $62,554 needed to equip the vehicle with specialty add-on equipment and accessories designed to aid rescues, such as all-terrain tires, search lighting and a built-in winch. The RRCM vehicle is currently under construction and is expected to aid searches as early as January 2024.

To support the Truckee RRMC vehicle build, tax-deductible donations may be made online at or by mail to Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Eric Rood Administrative Building, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, CA 95959.

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