2019 one of Kamloops Search and Rescue's busiest years | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

2019 one of Kamloops Search and Rescue's busiest years

Kamloops Search and Rescue search manager Alan Hobler and an air ambulance on the scene of an injured hunter near Long Lake Road south of Kamloops during a 2016 task.
Image Credit: Contributed by Mike Ritcey/Kamloops Search and Rescue

The volunteers with Kamloops Search and Rescue marked one of the busiest years in the past five decades in 2019.

The team logged more than 3,000 hours over 59 operational periods during 44 separate search and rescue calls. Although the number of hours and operational period is down from last year, the number of task requests received was 16 per cent higher than the five-year average and is one of the highest number of calls in their 50-year history, second to 2017.

Last year, the team responded to 42 task requests and logged 3,481 hours over 72 operational periods. In a media release, Kamloops Search and Rescue credits the increase in task requests to responding to calls in neighbouring areas, saying nearly a third of calls in 2019 were from areas outside of their usual coverage area.

Around 60 per cent of the tasks attended by Kamloops Search and Rescue this year were either done to aid another search and rescue team or was aided by a neighbouring search team.

As the number of calls increased, so did the Kamloops Search and Rescue team.

According to the media release, the Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteers upped their skills by spending more than 4,300 hours in training.

Eight members in training finished ground search and rescue training, and nine others plan to take another training session later this month. There are now seven more volunteers in leadership roles, and others have completed training in rope rescue, snowmobile, swift water and utility task vehicles.

About 30 volunteers were actively responding to calls and taking part in training exercises, and between them logged 18,560 kilometres on the team’s four trucks.

Two canine recruits passed their puppy training, and have now become search dogs in training, a process which was followed by this documentary.

The group also recognizes the work that was put in to other aspects of the search and rescue efforts, such as education and community involvement.

The Kamloops Search and Rescue AdventureSmart presenter worked with 12 different organizations such as workplaces, outdoor groups and elementary schools, and members of the team attended events such as School District 73’s Forestry and Environmental Studies Camp and Santa Claus Parade.

The group has also secured a new permanent location, which they expect to move into in 2021.

“With three of our busiest years in a row, we anticipate 2020 to be an equally busy year for Kamloops SAR,” says Kamloops Search and Rescue president Alan Hobler. “Our dedicated volunteers continue to make us a successful team. They train continuously throughout the year so they are prepared to respond to any call out. While we don’t know what 2020 will bring for call outs, we do know we will have highly trained, passionate volunteers responding.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2020

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