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Chilliwack Search and Rescue wins international award

It was their swiftwater rescue skills and helicopter techniques demonstrated in a tight canyon
Chilliwack Search and Rescue (CSAR) members on a training exercise along the Vedder River in 2015. (The Progress file)

Chilliwack Search and Rescue has been recognized internationally for their unique skills used effectively in tight situations.

The second busiest SAR team in B.C. has won an incident award from the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards Board of Directors.

It’s all about the skillset used for successful swift water rescues, including rafting, first aid, canyoning and rope rescue.

“In July of 2016 Chilliwack Search and Rescue was tasked to assist in a rescue and recovery in the Chehalis River Canyon,” according to CSAR reps.

It took all of the team’s skill and experience coming into play. The technical rescue team was flown into the canyon via helicopter, from which they executed a hover exit in a very tight space.

“From there they proceeded up the canyon to recover and rescue the subjects. Swiftwater rescue, first aid, rafting, canyoning and rope rescue techniques were all used to successfully complete the mission.

“For the effort, skill, and professional team work applied during the call, we have been fortunate enough to be awarded a Higgins and Langley Incident Award.”

CSAR is one of two international organizations set to win this award.

“And we couldn’t be more proud!”

The award will be presented at the 2017 International Association of Water Rescue Professionals Conference in September in South Bend, Indiana.

The board put out this message recently.

“We are pleased to announce and extend our congratulations to the 2016 award recipients,” according to Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards Board notice. “These internationally recognized awards are presented to individuals, teams, and agencies that demonstrate outstanding achievements, skills and/or preparedness in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue.”

Higgins and Langley Awards are presented every year to honor outstanding achievements in the technical disciplines of swiftwater and flood rescue.

The awards honour civilian rescuer Earl Higgins, who lost his life in February of 1980, while saving the life of a child who was swept away in the flood swollen Los Angeles River, and a professional firefighter/paramedic Jeffrey Langley of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, a swiftwater rescue pioneer, who lost his life in a helicopter accident in March of 1993.

Program Development Awards Recipients:

*Queensland Fire and Emergency Service - Australia

*New York State Department of Environmental Conservation – Forest Rangers – United States

*Fire and Rescue New South Wales - Australia

Incident Award Recipients

*Chilliwack Search and Rescue – Canada

*New York Task Force One – United States

Special Commendation Award Recipient

*Mike Mather – United States

Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient

*North Carolina State for Hurricane Matthew Response – United States

Life Time Achievement Award Recipients

*Dennis M. Kerrigan – United States

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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