For search and rescue volunteers, holidays are the busiest time of year | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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For search and rescue volunteers, holidays are the busiest time of year

For Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteers, this time of year is often filled with more distress calls than usual.
Image Credit: TWITTER / Kamloops Search and Rescue
December 27, 2019 - 12:00 PM

Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, it’s likely you want to do so surrounded by your loved ones. For search and rescue volunteers, getting a call means they may have to trade a family dinner for braving winter conditions to help a stranger.

Jennifer Stahn, a Kamloops Search and Rescue volunteer and spokesperson for the group, says this holiday week is one of their busiest times of the year.

“This week tends to be a little busier because more people are with their families and they’re out exploring and recreating and they have that time off, so it does tend to get a bit busier with those kinds of calls,” Stahn says. “A big one for the team was probably about five or six years ago, over the holiday break there were ten people rescued over a seven-day period… it was a lot.”

In a tweet on Kamloops Search and Rescue’s Twitter page, it states that of the team members surveyed, many have missed out on a holiday celebration because of a search and rescue mission.

Stahn says it can be hard for volunteers to decide between responding to a call or staying with family. Although there is no search and rescue missions going on right now with Kamloops Search and Rescue, Stahn says members have been encouraged to speak with their family members about what they’ll do if they get a distress call.

“Everyone on our team is signing up to help people, knowing that we’re on call 24/7, 365 days a year so it’s something we all deal with but we're all in very different spots. Some of us have young children, there’s retired or (people who) live alone so everybody has a slightly different decision process they go through.”

Stahn says regardless of the day or time of the call, there are always members who are going to respond. She says having a discussion with family members before holidays and birthdays can help the volunteers decide when it is right to take a call or to stay home.

“My husband and I are both on the team and we have a 14-year-old, and we’ve had discussions with her about when it’s appropriate for us to both go out or not, so it’s kind of a decision made with your family,” Stahn says. “Families are for the most part very supportive, but I mean they have to be because it makes it really difficult if they’re not and I think a lot of them understand we’re helping people who really do need the help at the time.”

Stahn reminds anyone who chooses to head outdoors for the holidays to stay safe and go prepared.

For more information on Kamloops Search and Rescue, click here.

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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