January 02, 2016 - 1:05 PM
VERNON - Vernon Search and Rescue was called upon more in 2015 than ever before in its 55-year history.
With only a couple days left in the year, the organization was called out out a total of 52 times in 2015, breaking its previous record of 42 call-outs in a year, spokesperson Leigh Pearson says.
“It’s a huge number for us, it blows our old record completely out of the water,” Pearson says.
The unit currently has roughly 60 members, of which 25 go on virtually every call. Pearson has been with Vernon SAR for more than 30 years and can’t pinpoint an exact reason for the high volume of calls this year. He believes part of it could be related to the unit’s participation in a helicopter winch rescue pilot project, which sees the team deployed to areas outside its usual coverage area to assist other search and rescue organizations. The helicopter team was recently dispatched to two separate snowmobile incidents in the Shuswap.
The high demand for Vernon Search and Rescue’s services has the organization on the lookout for new recruits. Anyone interested is invited to an open house Jan. 12 and Pearson says everyone is welcome; you don’t need any specific training or credentials to join the team.
“Outdoors experience is a plus, but not necessary. We’ll train them for everything they need to know,” Pearson says. “What we’re really looking for is the willingness and ability to commit, because it’s a big commitment. We get called out a lot, there’s training on top of that, lots and lots of hours need to be put in.”
Pearson says they’re hoping to bring on about a dozen new members in the new year.
Find out more about Vernon SAR and upcoming events on their website.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016