Tumbler Ridge Search and Rescue Hosts Open House

Lynsey Kitching

Our community Search and Rescue (SAR) team is excited to begin quarterly updates to the readers of the Tumbler Ridge News. We hope to keep you more informed about what is going on in the world of SAR.

For our first installment we have lots to share. Our first piece of exciting news is that we will be hosting an Open House here in town. The purpose of the gathering is to engage with the community. We invite you come on out, peruse our equipment, chat with our members and spectate our training activities. The Open House will be on Tues., Apr. 5, 2016 at the SAR Bay – 115 Commercial Park, Bay 5. The event will kick off at 7 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. We look forward to meeting you!

As usual, things are busy on the SAR front. We have a solid group of folks who over the past few years have been taking time to keep up their training and embark on new training opportunities to further our abilities out in the field. Members have completed certifications in first aid; SAR management; avalanche training; subject tracking; swift water rescue and the Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) course. There will be another GSAR course running May 2016 and we are always looking for and welcoming to new members. The team is also looking forward to the new training schedule and opportunities issued by our training authority. SAR Vice-President and Training Officer Brandon Lewis says, “We are looking forward to another busy year of training for the team and are always looking to have new members join us with the diverse backgrounds and skills they bring. We really want to build a strong relationship with the community.”

Our Tumbler Ridge SAR group has begun to meet every Tuesday, incorporating rope rescue, and weekly training activities to our meetings. These gatherings allow us to practice proper rescue and first aid techniques as a team, and discuss Ground Search and Rescue material.

The team has been getting organized, updating our equipment and aligning with the new procedures and technology available for SAR. Dedicated members have restocked and ordered new equipment. We have begun to create a digital member profile, enabling call outs to run more efficiently. Along with this, members have synced mobile devices to enable Satellite communication when in the field. We are working on purchasing new beacons, toboggans, updated first aid equipment and helmets.

The team would like to thank the Tumbler Ridge Community Forest for its generous contribution to SAR. The group recently provided funds to enable the team to buy team jackets, avalanche beacons and snowshoes. These items will prove beneficial to the team’s work in the field.

Finally, SAR had its Annual General Meeting in June 2015 where the group decided on the new executive as well as officer positions. The positions read as follows:

President – Craig Waters

Vice-President – Brandon Lewis

Treasurer – Michelle Burtt

Secretary – Jackie Caldwell

Safety Officer – Derek Blackwell,                Background – Marcel Brodeur

Training Officer – Brandon Lewis

Equipment Officer – Jesse Coonce

Engines – Gerald Noksana

Communications Officer – Gerald   Noksana, Background – Sarah Waters

Administration/Personnel Officer – Marsha Dufresne

Public Relations Officer – Lynsey Kitching, Background – Sarah Waters

Medical Officer – Anthony Moreau-Coulson

Fundraising Committee – All members

Lewis says, “Please make sure you are safe in whatever activities you wish to partake. Lack of SAR call-outs is never a bad thing. See you at the Grizfest parade or Emperors Challenge.”

We look forward to our next update and please don’t hesitate to reach out to SAR with any comment, questions or concerns you may have! Please feel free to email us at tumblerridgesar@gmail.com.