NVSAR, braving icy water

The Nechako Valley Search and Rescue team saw members brave cold waters during intense ice and water training .

ICE: Back row Eric Williamson

ICE: Back row Eric Williamson

Nechako Valley Search and Rescue (NVSAR) saw some brave members face frigid waters this month as part of an advanced training exercise.

The course reviewed elements of basic flat ice rescue, which is someone in a lake/pond environment and the rescue gear and techniques that are used.

“Then it took us to a river environment with ice, which adds an entirely new dynamic to the training,” Chris Mushumanski said in an email, president of NVSAR.

Every three years the NVSAR water rescue team must re-certify; training done by Raven Rescue in Smithers. This year TransCanada donated the $7,000 needed to give 12 people the full three-day course.

“The price may seem high, but besides the world class instructors Raven Rescue provides, they are essentially liable to say these NVSAR volunteers are competent in a very technical, risk filled type of search and rescue,” Mr. Mushumanski said.

At the provincial level, Emergency Management BC and the British Columbia SAR Association (BCSARA) work together to create clear search-and-rescue training and response policies for all moving water environments. This course will build towards these new safety and training requirements.

Although the Vanderhoof team has done basic level training twice, this was the first time they did the advanced level.

“The big thing different this time is it also took into account moving water,” said Kevin Moutray, NVSAR member. “With moving water if you make a mistake and miss the mantel your headed for Prince George. There’s a lot more danger in a moving water environment.”

The NVSAR water team was created in 2007 in response to the localized flooding that year.

“Given that our community is on a river with so many rivers in our search and rescue area, and winter fills so much of the calendar, it makes sense to have this current critical training for our team,” Mr. Mushumanski said.

The course ran Jan 16, 17 and 18 in Vanderhoof throughout a variety of rivers which ensured the full training requirements were met.