This summer Revelstoke Search and Rescue responded to an injured swimmer who was using a zipline on Lake Revelstoke. (Photo via Facebook)

This summer Revelstoke Search and Rescue responded to an injured swimmer who was using a zipline on Lake Revelstoke. (Photo via Facebook)

Revelstoke Search and Rescue sees another busy year

The team had 20 new recruits this year and responded for more than 80 calls

Revelstoke Search and Rescue responded to more than 80 callouts in 2019, one of their busiest years, said Giles Shearing, one of the REVSAR managers.

The team has 80 members, with specialty teams, including swiftwater, sled, rope and helicopter as well as a general search team and a Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association certified dog and handler.

This year the team had 20 new recruits. Shearing said they are all “expert outdoor mountain ninjas”.

Everyone practices once a week, with the specialty teams getting together for separate training sessions.

Each and every one of them is a volunteer.

“We are lucky in Revelstoke that a number of our members already come to volunteer with us with a lot of experience,” Shearing said.

There are Association of Canadian Mountain Guides ski guides, ski patrollers and paramedics, among others.

Revelstoke is one of the top 10 busiest teams in the province, Shearing said.

The team is overseen by Emergency Management BC. Each member is considered a public safety lifeline volunteer.

Last year, between April 2018 and April 2019, there were 1,642 callouts for Search and Rescue across the province, a number that has been increasing consistently, according to the province, who publishes statistics every year. In the 1991-1992 year, there was around 500 Search and Rescue incidents.

Search and Rescue services are always free for those involved, whether they be Canadian or visitors.

REVSAR is required to follow policies set out by Emergency Management BC. Though their members are volunteers, the local organization gets reimbursed by the province for calls that they respond to, which keeps the organization going and the equipment well maintained.

However, in 2016 and 2017, the province announced two one-time grants of $10 million and $5 million for the BC Search and Rescue Association. Those funds were shared between the provinces 80 Search and Rescue teams.

READ MORE: Concerns rise as B.C. search and rescue funding set to expire

In Revelstoke the money has been used for equipment purchases and training.

Shearing said the team looked at their call history to identify areas that could use more resources, water rescue was one of them.

“Water activities are increasing in our area, I think,” Shearing said. “We have more people out on lakes.”

Next summer a newly purchased 18 ft. jet boat will be ready for the swiftwater team to use.

REVSAR also got a new bank of radios this past year, and two years ago purchased an off-road vehicle with five seats and the ability to carry a stretcher.

“That has been useful for a number of tasks on Boulder (Mountain) and Frisbee (Ridge) so far,” Shearing said.

Also new to the fleet is a snow mobile that can easily carry two people, more of a work horse sled, Shearing said.

Last year they purchased a 30 ft. trailer for gear transportation.

They also did an IT upgrade in their command centre, which is in the same building as the Revelstoke RCMP.

At the moment, REVSAR is looking for a piece of land to build a training and storage facility, though they plan to keep their space in the RCMP building as they often work closely with the RCMP.

READ MORE: Revelstoke Search and Rescue asking for city land

With the new equipment and the highly trained, large team, Shearing said REVSAR is in a good place right now.

“Our members are selfless, they give a lot of their time and energy,” he said. “They are the lifeblood of the organization.”

Mental health of the team is an important consideration, Shearing said.

In cases of potentially traumatic incidents, such as fatalities or multiple fractures, REVSAR calls in the provincial Critical Incident Stress Management Team for support.

“Right now we have a really good group and it is really exciting,” Shearing said.


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers’ group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. (THE CANADIAN PRESS - Jesse Johnston)
Poll: Care to spread your feelings on butter?

Reports of hard butter have rattled the Canadian dairy industry

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society said Revelstoke’s dark downtown core is unwelcoming. Lighting would make it more inviting and a point of interest. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
New community group hopes to ‘light up’ Revelstoke

Illuminate Spirit Revelstoke Society aims to purchase decorative lights for the downtown core

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
Kootenay-Columbia MP supports motion condemning Uighur genocide

Rob Morrison says labelling Uighur persecution as a genocide sends a message to Chinese government

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two seperate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(HelloKelowna - Twitter)
West Kelowna billboard bearing anti-vaccine messaging deemed misleading

Ad Standards investigated the billboard, noting a lack of evidence to support the messaging

Baldy Mountain Resort is temporarily closed following the death of a resort family member. Pictured above is a sunrise at the resort, Feb. 19, 2021. (Baldy Mountain Resort/Facebook)
Baldy Mountain ski hill closed following death of resort family member

Authorities currently investigating, resort set to reopen Sunday, Feb. 27

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Chase RCMP arrest intoxicated man running into highway traffic

The man was wanted on several warrents in Alberta; was held overnight but released

Most Read