Nelson Search and Rescue celebrated the formal opening a new five-bay garage at its headquarters at North Shore Hall on Friday.
The garage offers secure storage for about $500,000 in equipment that used to kept in parking lots and garages across the city.
“Having everything in one place will shave at least 10 or 15 minutes off our response time in emergencies,” said search manager Murray Springman. “It used to be, when we got a call, we had to remember where we’d stored something and sometimes it meant calling a couple guys to find it.”
Nelson SAR secured a 20-year agreement with the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the building owner, in June last year and broke ground on the garage the following September. By December, the group could move its equipment in.
The garage now holds the Nelson SAR command trailer, rescue boats, Kootenay Heli-Rescue vehicles and other emergency response equipment.
“We’ve almost outgrown it already,” Springman said, noting SAR recently purchased a six person all-terrain vehicle and hopes to find funding for a five ton truck it can convert into a command vehicle because the trailer won’t make it up up steep roads, such as the ones that lead to Whitewater ski resort or Kokanee Glacier park.
“Now that we have a place to store things — under lock and key and out of the elements — we can start getting some of the equipment we’ve had on our wish list,” Springman said.