One of the busiest search and rescue teams in B.C. is reeling from having been hit by thieves three times in the past six months.
And it stings plenty whether it’s team issued gear or personal gear.
“It’s been frustrating,” said Doug Fraser, CSAR search manager.
Some community-minded businesses have stepped forward with donations to staunch the bleeding, but the team’s losses are adding up.
Everyone is asked to keep an eye out for any gear or jackets marked, ‘Chilliwack Search and Rescue,’ that could very well come up for sale online or in local pawnshops.
One member, the CSAR president, had his garage broken into several months ago.
“He lost several items including some of his SAR gear,” said Fraser.
Last month one a member in training had their vehicle broken into in Chilliwack while it was parked on the street overnight. In that instance several vehicles were hit on that street, so it wasn’t someone targeting the specialized gear.
And just last week a hard-working volunteer had his vehicle broken into while parked in front of his house in Abbotsford.
In the vehicle break-ins the gear losses were similar: backpack, helmet, jacket, down-filled jacket, headlamp, first aid kit, carabiners, gloves, and other clothing items and smaller pieces of gear.
One member lost his entire swift-water rescue kit from his garage: dry suit, PFD, helmet, water shoes, insulated under layers, throw bag, knife, whistle, duffle bag.
“He may also have lost other SAR gear.”
Keep in mind these are highly-trained volunteers who rely on the gear to safely rescue people from dangerous scenarios.
“Our member has to pay out-of-pocket to replace their personal gear unless the theft warrants an insurance claim, but that increases the amount one pays for insurance in subsequent years,” said Fraser.
The CSAR team has to purchase equipment again to replace any team-issued gear that was stolen.
That hurts everyone.
“Until all of the gear is replaced, the member’s capacity to respond to emergencies is either curtailed or limited.”
Individuals and businesses can help by donating toward replacing the losses at: http://chilliwacksar.org/donate/