Lost Without Dedicated Search and Rescue Volunteers
Nanaimo, B.C. – If you break your leg a few kilometers down a forest trail, you might be surprised to learn that the RCMP or military may not be the group to come to your aid; your rescue could be completed by volunteers from a local Search and Rescue (SAR) team. These teams also have extensive training to conduct life-saving operations in difficult terrain such as high angle and swift water. They answer calls for help day and night, frequently giving up paid time at their jobs, and the person who is rescued will never receive a bill for this service.
Why would anyone volunteer for this? Ken Welte, a REALTOR ® with Sutton Group - West Coast Realty, joined the Ladysmith Ground Search and Rescue two years ago and has participated in numerous missions. Ken says, “When we are able to help lost or injured people, it is very rewarding.”
Ken explains that when a person is missing or in need of extraction, a determination will be made about whether he or she is accessible by the RCMP or ambulance. If an injured person is ‘too far’ down a trail, a call will go out to the local search and rescue team.
SAR clubs help each other out regularly. Recently the Ladysmith club answered the call for mutual aid to the Nanaimo SAR team. After completing the first night's search, Nanaimo SAR made a request for mutual aid the next morning. Approximately 20 searchers arrived from other SAR clubs up and down the island.
Ken says, “On a multi-day search, the local club will need many searchers. Clubs routinely rely on mutual aid, and all of our clubs are always looking for new, motivated volunteers.”
“It takes a special mindset—not physical strength—to be a member of Search and Rescue. We are looking for people who are self-motivated, reliable, be willing to help where help is needed. Once in the club, there is lots of opportunity to specialize. Mine is First Aid; I hold an OFA3 certificate, but more of the time I will do simple things like setting up trash containers, driving, etc. Whatever is needed.”
Photo by Chris Bush, courtesy of the Nanaimo News Bulletin.
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