Ever wondered what it’s like to volunteer with one of the busiest search and rescue teams in the province?
Chilliwack Search and Rescue is hosting an Open House and recruitment drive on March 22 at the Fifth Avenue base.
The Chilliwack SAR team has about 40 to 45 members, and they’re looking to recruit several new members.
The range of the terrain, types of recreation and diverse environments covered by Chilliwack Search and Rescue is what makes it the busiest SAR teams in the province, said membership chair Deb Drozda.
There are two major rivers systems in the area, the Chilliwack-Vedder and the Fraser, as well as two lakes, Cultus Lake, and Chilliwack.
From extreme glacier and rock climbing on Mount Slesse, to snow-shoeing, hunting, kayaking or fishing on the river, there’s a lot of back country activity going on.
SAR volunteers are often asked to help during mountain searches, swift water rescues or looking for lost or missing seniors or hikers.
“The environment dictates our response,” Drozda said.
The local team’s call volume, skills, availability all dictate how many volunteers respond to a call at any one time.
“We have several occasions where two rescues occur at the same time, and need to divide our team up,” she said.
Drozda specializes as the team’s dog handler and has been volunteering with SAR for 11 years. Her border collie, Twitch, is usually by her side these days.
Applicants are called “members-in-training” and they should have lots of back country experience, be physically fit, enjoy working in a team environment and have first aid training.
“Applications will be available at the Open House,” said Drozda.
There will be equipment and a video set up for visitors to peruse, as well as details about the intensive training required.
MITs will have Wednesday evenings free, no criminal record, and be prepared to commit a minimum of 300 hours per year. Applicants must pass the GSAR course (JIBC) and a probationary period prior to becoming a full member.
“The open house is to show the community what capabilities our team has,” Drozda told The Progress.
“Being one of the busiest and most diverse teams in the province it shows what is required to make sure our community and those who spend their recreation time here are safe.
Members of the public are invited to explore the range of specialized rescue trucks and high-tech equipment used by SAR at the event, and to ask team members about the services and specializations they offer. Children are welcome at the Open House with parental supervision.
The info sessions in the SAR classroom will start at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Equipment stations will be set up throughout our base. Chilliwack SAR members will be available at each station to answer questions.
The open house event runs from noon to 3 p.m. at 46195 Fifth Avenue, on March 22.
Contact Drozda at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.chilliwacksar.org