Search and Rescue Gains Dedicated Realty Team
Nanaimo, B.C. – When people go missing, usually after hiking or skiing in the back country, one of the first calls is to the local Search and Rescue. REALTOR® Ken Welte and his wife and business partner Laura recently completed a year of training to become volunteers with the Ladysmith Search and Rescue team. On Saturday, they passed a final survival test with flying colours.
They spent a night outdoors in below-freezing temperatures without a tent relying only on basic equipment such as a tarp, sleeping bags, a fire starter and years of experience.
“When the instructor came by to check on us, he referred to our campsite as the Hilton,” laughs Ken. “We were prepared.” But that does not mean everything was easy.
To become volunteers, they completed approximately 50 hours of academic instruction on topics as diverse as swift water awareness, radio communications, bear safety, using stretchers, SAR command procedures and more. There were monthly tests and field work.
Laura admits: “I had to push myself to do things outside of my comfort zone. Afterwards it was rewarding to say, ‘hey I just dragged a stretcher up the side of a mountain.’”
Ken spent two weeks last summer earning his certification in Occupational First Aid Level III. Over the years, he has also gained experience as an Air Cadet volunteer, often taking teenage cadets on wilderness trips. To keep his First Aid skills sharp, Ken now also volunteers as an attendant at community events.
Joining the hardworking, dedicated Ladysmith Search and Rescue team was a natural fit. Ken and Laura look forward to providing this vital community service.
“On average, I believe Central Vancouver Island gets about 60 calls a year,” says Ken. “That’s an average of more than one per week, although summer is the busiest time. This past summer, as Members in Training (MITs), we sometimes had a call every night.”
Ken commends the B.C. Government for funding the vehicles, gasoline, radio licenses and other essential equipment required by the Search and Rescue.
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