Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

Trail RCMP join search and rescue training session

South Columbia SAR is always looking for great people to join

If you happened to see a Mountie and a team of red jackets scouring the river shore last week — the latter being members from South Columbia Search and Rescue — rest assured it was a training session, not the real deal.

The night of Wednesday, April 19, Trail RCMP Const. Ryder Heim joined the search and rescue team for a mock training exercise along the old Waneta highway.

The mock scenario simulated a crashed watercraft in the Columbia River. Searchers were deployed to both sides of the river bank to rescue a life-like water training doll.

The team also used a boat to help facilitate the mock water rescue.

“This was a great opportunity for shared training,” explains Sgt. Mike Wicentowich, Trail RCMP detachment commander. “Practicing together in scenarios like this allows us to be prepared should a real incident occur.”

Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

Coordinating these complex mock exercises that involves multiple search teams, jet boat operations, rope rigging and stretcher evacuations, is no simple task.

Throwing a wrench into this critical training over the past few years, was the pandemic. Impacts of COVID-19 didn’t skirt many, including those who — pandemic or not — must remain at the ready to jump in and help search for lost people and deploy rescue measures when needed.

Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

Mock search and rescue training in Trail, April 19. Photo: Submitted

In the past year alone, several members threw in the towel at South Columbia SAR (Search and Rescue). This leaves 27 people to cover a large expanse of ground and water from Trail to Salmo.

“It’s been a tough year to get some training in with the COVID restrictions we have had to follow,” Mike Hudson, South Columbia SAR president, told the Trail Times. “This has resulted in some losses in our membership. (We) lost eight members in the last year.”

Hudson says the team is always looking for great people to join. He encourages anyone interested to visit the group’s Facebook page as their website, www.scsar.ca, is presently under construction.

South Columbia SAR

South Columbia Search and Rescue is a group of skilled volunteers. When requested, by the RCMP, members are deployed through the Provincial Emergency Program, to assist in ground-inland water search and rescue, as well as many other emergencies.

Members are highly trained in searching techniques. The team has specialized training in swift water rescue, rope rescue, wilderness first aid, avalanche response, and SAR management.

South Columbia encompasses the area of Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale, and Salmo. Members participate, through mutual aid, with other West Kootenay SAR groups including Nelson, Rossland, Castlegar, and Nakusp.

Along with Justice Institute based training, South Columbia members also participate in common adventure activities which incorporate SAR training and enhancing the skill level of members.

Read more: Search and rescue training underway in Trail tonight (2021)

Read more: Two search and rescue calls involving children end with happy outcomes (2020)



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