After years of fundraising, Nelson Search and Rescue finally has a brand new command vehicle to replace the trailer it used to haul out to search sites.
Basically a mobile office, the command vehicle is fully equipped with everything SAR volunteers need to run a search, and it can be set up in a matter of minutes.
There’s generators to run the lights, radios and a computer system loaded with topographic maps. Searchers carrying GPS trackers will be able to upload the precise coordinates of areas they covered and have them plotted on a digital map to help see gaps in the search.
“There’s some pretty impressive technology we can take advantage of for the first time now that we this vehicle,” said Scott Spencer of Nelson SAR, noting they’ll also keep paper maps on board in case of computer trouble.
There are flaps that lift up on either side of the vehicle to provide shelter for larger briefings, and a mini-kitchen in the back.
It’s a big improvement from the trailer, which was always a struggle to haul up back roads and took about 30 minutes to assemble.
The vehicle was designed in the lower mainland, where many of the larger SAR groups have been using similar models for years. Nelson SAR is one of the first in the BC interior to purchase one.
The custom made vehicle cost $206,000. Some of the major local funders that made the purchase possible are Columbia Basin Trust and the IODE Kokanee Chapter.
SARScene Games 2013 Champions
The Games, held on October 19 in Chiliwack as part of a three-day search and rescue conference, is an intense skills competition with seven stations covering everything from navigation to rope rescues and survival skills.
Eighty teams from across Western Canada took part. The Nelson team was Chandrima Lavoie, Henry Moscalenko, Douglas Noblet, Scott Spencer and Sean Slimmon.
“All the teams [competing] were very evenly matched,” said Nelson SAR’s Chris Armstrong, who is also a member of the BC Search and Rescue Association that helped organized the Games.
“Near the end of the Games, Nelson was in sixth place. But last station was navigation and our team had particularly good navigational skills. That put them right on top.”
The judges also commented on the teamwork exhibited by the Nelson group, according to Armstrong.
“The team here in Nelson is very strong and they work very, very well together. That’s one of the things that probably helped them win,” he said.
Nelson Search and Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer organization.