Chilliwack Search and Rescue is getting ready to recruit and train a few new volunteer members this spring.
“It’s hard to say at this point exactly how many we’re looking for,” said CSAR search manager Doug Fraser.
CSAR is one of the busiest search and rescue teams in B.C., with more than 80 callouts in a typical year.
“Our call volume has more than doubled since I’ve been on the team, so we’ve been stretched to the limit,” said Fraser.
There are 44 members right now, after nine new volunteers joined last year.
They had a total of 84 callouts in 2015, after a record year with 86 the year before. Up until about 2004, the average was more like 45 to 60 calls for service per year.
Their call volume is going up, Fraser said, but the knowledge about good outdoor gear and conditions, is also increasing at the same time.
Part of the reason why they’re so busy is that the team covers a wide-range of high-use recreation and back country areas, including the Chilliwack-Vedder and Fraser River systems.
CSAR does everything from mountain rescues and bush-whacking, to swift-water rescues, or even calls to find missing hikers, youths, or seniors.
“We’re really excited the direction the team is going in,” Fraser said.
The ideal SAR candidate is physically fit with a lot of time to devote. They would be able to drop everything and go, if paged to a call out.
“Some of the faces have changed over the years, but we’ve always had around 40 members,” Fraser said.
SAR tends to attract folks who know the local mountains and trail system very well.
It takes a solid commitment from each volunteer member of generally more than 350 hours per year, as well as training.
They’re looking for people who live and work in Chilliwack, interested in outdoor activities, with Wednesday nights open and a flexible schedule to accommodate callouts day or night.
See more at www.chilliwacksar.org