Why search and rescue is a free, non-judgemental service in B.C. - InfoNews

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Why search and rescue is a free, non-judgemental service in B.C.

There is absolutely no cost for the life-saving services offered by search and rescue organizations in B.C., including Kamloops Search and Rescue, even though some might believe otherwise.
Image Credit: TWITTER / Kamloops Search and Rescue
February 06, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Kamloops Search and Rescue wants to remind everyone and anyone who recreates in the outdoors that there is no fee or charge for its service, regardless of the outcome.

The organization tweeted about the misconception today, Feb. 6, to remind people why search and rescue is a free service in B.C.

“We feel like if people believe there is a charge, they’re going to be more hesitant to call. We would really hate to see what could be a rescue situation turn into a body recovery situation because of that,” Kamloops Search and Rescue spokesperson Jennifer Stahn says.

Stahn says some people don’t always respond positively to the news of successful rescues, and believe the located individual should be charged for the service.

Stahn says those comments even rolled in after the search and rescue team located 14-year-old Carson Hadwin, who spent the night in the elements after getting lost snowboarding in Sun Peaks.

“They feel that people are knowingly getting themselves into trouble, obviously we feel that’s a misconception,” Stahn says.

“If people knowingly go into an out of bounds area, people believe that they’re taking their own risk, and they should be charged for it if they’re choosing to make that decision, whereas we believe accidents happen, everyone is entitled to go have fun, and everybody is entitled to search and rescue help if it’s needed.”

Stahn says she's heard of search and rescue teams in the Lower Mainland who often deal with people who think there is a charge for the life-saving service. She says it has been noticed amongst tourists, who may have a different search and rescue protocols in their home countries.

In addition to the fear of being charged for the service, she says embarrassment can also play a big role in people hesitating to call for help.

“I’m sure there’s more than one person who has hesitated to call because they’re embarrassed of the situation they got themselves into,” Stahn says. “We do our training to help people in need, regardless of why they got into that trouble."

"If you’re lost or injured out recreating, our goal is to help get you home safe. We don’t care why. We’ll do it without judgement. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody can get injured. That kind of stuff doesn’t discriminate. We’re out there and we just want to help anybody.”

Stahn says that regardless of the scenario or one’s relation to a lost person, calling as soon as possible can save their life.

“You should call as soon as you think somebody is missing or in trouble, and it doesn’t matter if you’re close family, a friend, or a casual acquaintance. If you think someone is in trouble, call right away.”

To request help from Kamloops Search and Rescue, call 911.


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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