S&R plays vital role

Recently, the Kootenay Search and Rescue region was inundated with one of the biggest volume of calls it has ever received over a 12-hour period.

Most SAR teams were scheduled to be on duty at Avalanche Awareness days at the ski resort in Nelson on the Sunday. My colleague and I packed gear on Saturday and agreed to make an early start.

Our plan was to set up rope rescue equipment and take a rescue dog with us to show to the public.

Saturday night started early with a call around 3 p.m. North of Kaslo, a film crew and skier got into some trouble when a jump went wrong. Leaving families abandoned at the dining room table, volunteers headed out to attempt to find the party and deal with an injured skier. 

At a similar time, more calls came in for missing snow boarders, skiers and sledders. 

My colleague called me and said pack for a day of backcountry skiing, we are on an active search first thing in the morning.

The day for us was spent being in a reserve position, ready to jump on a helicopter and assist with an evacuation. Two separate incidents kept us busy for the day, but the region as a whole had received 15 calls in 12 hours. 

The role that volunteer SAR teams play in B.C. is vital to assist wounded, lost and victims of incidents such as avalanches. Some teams, such as ours in Kaslo, are also first responders to motor vehicle accidents.

It is encouraging to see a group that willingly gives up their personal recreational time, family time or even work time to ensure many people remain safe, survive or are extracted from a very challenging circumstance.

More importantly, thousands of hours of volunteer time are used for training purposes to ensure familiarity with equipment and processes. 

It is extremely rare that we only have a couple of people respond to a call in Kaslo and certainly across the province there is a high level of co-operation between teams, which certainly was the case that weekend.

Knowing that the teams are funded through grants and donations, make sure you at least shake the hand of a SAR team member and thank them for the work they do.

You never know when you might meet them again. 

Don’t forget to get some training on how to safely travel in back country, no matter what the season or weather, and be prepared to be out there for longer than you planned.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

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