BC Search and Rescue released a document discussing how to keep up to date with training, highlighting the need for organized funding.
A couple months ago, Search and Rescue teams in the province were beginning discussions to figure out how they are going to stay up to date with training if there isn’t an organized funding opportunity.
The province has experienced record years, in terms of call-outs, for at least the last two years.
The British Columbia Search and Rescue Association or BCSARA represents all of the rescue teams in the province. They’re the voice to government for the collective teams and they recently released a document discussing possible options for the teams to explore.
The local team, Nechako Valley Search and Rescue, is led by Chris Mushumanski, who said that call-outs for the team this year have already surpassed last years amount.
“Over the years, funding has always been a bit of an issue. Who is going to pay for what, how are we going to fund training, equipment purchases etc.,” said Mushumanksi. “So one of the key pieces of this document is how SAR has really changed over the last 15 years or so. Back in 1991 we had 400 callouts in the province and last year it was 1,300.”
The technology that’s out there has changed allowing teams to become even more effective but the costs of training and equipment are starting to worry rescue teams since they have no idea where their funding will come from or if it will come in time for their next round of training.
“The hope is that this will start a good avenue of discussion,” said Mushumanski. “So that between the search and rescue teams in the province and the government we can come to a clearer understanding in terms of how the current search and rescue program is going to be funded and how we are going to keep it being the top notch program that it is.”
British Columbia Search and Rescue teams experience more call-outs than the rest of Canada combined.
The current model sometimes has to ask volunteers to take time off from work and donate their wages to do a training course that could last up to three days as well as be available for any rescue operations.