Mutual Aid: Sometimes even a rescue team has to call for help

 In General

Sometimes even a rescue team has to call for help.

Mutual Aid is the term given to situations when neighbouring Search and Rescue teams are asked to assist with a local task. Situations where this might occur include: when a team requires a skill set beyond their training (such as Class D), when a task has gone beyond one or two operational periods and local members’ availability diminishes (as volunteers we have to return to work eventually), or simply when more team members are needed to help. On average CSAR is requested to help roughly 20 times a year, and we generally request assistance 3 to 5 times a year. It should be noted that there are no boundary lines for Mutual Aid; calls can come in from, and members can go to, all corners of the province.

Generally speaking, when assistance is needed a request is first made to Emergency Management BC to task out neighbouring teams (as appropriate). The team(s) then contact the local SAR Manager leading the task to confirm participation. Upon arrival, responsibilities are allocated and the incoming team members jump in and carry on the work being done. Not only does Mutual Aid help move the task along, it is an opportunity to advance the skills of both the requesting and assisting teams. It’s also a great way to build strong relationships between regional SAR members.

We are fortunate to be neighboured by so many highly trained, committed teams in the Valley and beyond, and so grateful for the chance to work together on Mutual Aid throughout the year. We’d like to give a big ‘shout out’ to all SAR teams in the province for all the work you do and for always being at the ready to help your neighbours. We’d also like to give special recognition and thanks to the following teams who we traditionally work most closely with: Kent Harrison SAR, Hope SAR, Central Fraser Valley SAR, Surrey SAR, Mission SAR, Coquitlam SAR, Ridge Meadows SAR, North Shore SAR, Lions Bay SAR, Squamish SAR, Pemberton SAR & Whistler SAR.

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