Castlegar Search and Rescue hosts massive region-wide training weekend
Search and Rescue (SAR) teams from all over the southeast region of the province converged on the
Slocan Valley for a weekend of training exercises from August 19 to 21. The SAREX (short for search and rescue exercise) was a huge success with over 65 volunteers in attendance from various teams from the southeast region of B.C., including Castlegar, Rossland and District, Grand Forks, South Columbia (Fruitvale), Nelson, Arrow Lake (Nakusp), Creston, Sparwood, Elkford, Revelstoke, Oliver/Osoyoos, and Penticton.
Hosted and organized by Castlegar Search and Rescue, volunteers participated in an all-day, real-time scenario that played out in the mountains between Slocan Park and Winlaw. The scenario involved a bear attack on several inexperienced campers new to the area. Teams searched for the campsite and rescued the subjects, providing medical assistance to those presenting injuries. The simulation exercise was described as difficult and tested the volunteers’ abilities to assess multiple casualties in a realistic setting.
The RCMP and the Conservation Officer Service also participated in the scenario, along with local media and aircraft from Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA). By end of day, SAR teams successfully recovered all acting subjects in the field and valuable lessons were learned.
The following day, volunteers had an opportunity to learn and test a variety of skills including tracking techniques and swiftwater rescue as well as non-profit board governance and grant writing. A hover exit demonstration was provided by members of Castlegar Search and Rescue. This type of specialized skill allows volunteers to enter and exit a helicopter while hovering in the air – a necessary skill when working to save and rescue lives in B.C.’s rugged backcountry.
The day was capped off with all volunteers learning more about helicopter safety operations and a helicopter flight over the Slocan Valley.
Castlegar Search and Rescue wants to thank the many sponsors who assisted in making this event possible: Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Endless Adventure, BCSARA, Playmor Power Products.
Thank you for making this the best SAREX ever!