Due to the remoteness of the areas surrounding Chilliwack and the need for injured persons to access medical facilities in a timely manner; Chilliwack SAR has long used Helicopters to access and evacuate injured persons in a timely manner.
After a careful needs analysis, Chilliwack SAR realized that due to the nature of the terrain surrounding Chilliwack and the increased incidents in remote locations that traditional helicopter rescue techniques (hover exits, toe-in landings) were not adequate and put a significant number of rescuers at greater risk. Working with Emergco, a North Vancouver company that specializes in advanced helicopter rescue equipment and techniques; Chilliwack SAR trained skilled members in a technique called Helicopter External Transport System (HETS).
HETS is a technique that uses a helicopter with a special long line to insert or evacuate members into areas that would otherwise be inaccessible, or where traditional access/rescue methods would mean unacceptable delays or put a greater number of rescuers at risk.
Chilliwack SAR is currently one of four volunteer SAR teams in BC that have the ability to provide this service, utilizing two Helicopter companies; Valley Helicopters in Hope and Talon Helicopters in Vancouver.
Chilliwack SAR is a participating member of the Air Rescue Association of Canada.