In the Province of British Columbia, every week, search and rescue teams are called out for a variety of incidents that require some technical assistance from highly trained teams.
Kaslo is no different other than it covers a large mountainous area with a lot of still and moving water and has the added responsibility of Motor Vehicle incidents. As such the basic level of training for every volunteer must include highly technical training to ensure not only the safety of the volunteers themselves but also the success of the individual missions.
“We have to ensure our members are prepared for a surprise overnight camp in any weather and we may even be sheltering a patient or the subject of a search since most extractions will happen during daylight hours,” said Andy Scott, Wilderness Survival Instructor and Board Member for Kaslo Search and Rescue.
Recently the latest group of volunteers were taken across the lake from Kaslo, bracing themselves for a chilly -18-degree evening with nothing but a few tools, clothes and food to help them through the night.
The volunteers worked in pairs and used their classroom training to construct a variety of winter shelters and fires to assist in keeping them warm. For some the night was warm and cozy, for others, it was an opportunity to revisit how they could make their shelters a little warmer. The good news is everyone survived the chilly night and gained a vast amount of experience.
“It was a tremendous learning opportunity for everyone,” said Training Officer Paddy Flanagan, adding “The whole team demonstrated that they are learning what we are teaching in the classroom. Aside from being critical for our missions with Kaslo Search and Rescue the skill required to survive in a mountain wilderness environment is a personal benefit to all of the volunteers”
As the group comes to the end of their training they will build on the skills they have learned and ultimately specialise in a few disciplines that will assist the organization in their regional search and rescue efforts.
As call volumes remain on par with 2018, the local Search and Rescue organization is reviewing logistics requirements as the number of volunteers increase along with the amount of equipment required to do their work.
Kaslo Search and Rescue is recruiting volunteers so if you like adventure and want to participate, you can contact Kaslo Search and Rescue through their Facebook page.
Remember to always enjoy the outdoors, but be prepared and stay safe. Watch out for spring avalanche activity and quickly rising creeks throughout the day as temperatures increase.