Don't be surprised if you see a lot of Search and Rescue vehicles and personnel in Penticton this weekend.
The Penticton & District Search and Rescue Team is hosting other Search and Rescue teams from across the region for a day of joint training on Saturday focused on “ Saving Lives”
Approximately 50 Search and Rescue Volunteers from Penticton, Keremeos, Oliver, Kelowna, and the South Columbia region will be attending what is being called the 1st Annual Okanagan Similkameen Search and Rescue Tactical Training Exercise.
Anne Benn, Provincial Paramedic/ and Penticton & District Search and Rescue Team member, has been a driving force in organizing the event.
"The weekend is so important to everyone especially as the frequency of SAR groups being called to respond to emergency events has been on the increase each year," she explained. "Our goal this weekend is to hone the skills of team members all the while developing a strong network and the ability to share information between the various SAR groups."
SAR groups within the Okanagan Similkameen and Columbia region have very specialized skills and this weekend allows everyone time to share those skills without the pressure of being on an emergency task.
Another Penticton & District Search and Rescue Team member, Dale Jorgenson, says the focus of the day will be on basic skills, but also on gaining familiarity between the teams.
"So you can sort of get to know the people a little better because usually on a call out there is no time for that, you just jump in a do what you need to do."
SAR members will go through several different activities, testing their knowledge and skills in Navigation, Tracking, 24 Hour Survival, Rope Rescue, First Aid and Interviewing techniques.
These are just some of the skills that Search and Rescue Volunteers must become proficient at and does not include the swift water, avalanche and helicopter evacuation techniques that SAR team members use on a consistent basis.
The Upper Wiltse area will be the staging area for this event.