Chilliwack Search and Rescue hosted the National SARscene 2013 conference which included a helicopter rescue demonstration at Pacific Region Training Centre on Saturday.

Rescuers streamed into Chilliwack for SARscene 2013

The public was invited to a mock rescue by SAR volunteers using HETS long-line techniques and a Bell 407 helicopter

Organizing and hosting SARscene 2013 was a first for Chilliwack Search and Rescue members.

SARscene was a national conference held in Chilliwack over the weekend, co-hosted with B.C. Search and Rescue Association, that saw more than 400 attendees streaming into town.

Members of the public witnessed in a mock rescue using long-line techniques with a Bell 407 helicopter, and a canine display that involved a Chilliwack SAR member.

Some of the local rescue vehicles and boats were also rolled out as part of a massive static display open to the public on Saturday, but not all of them, of course.

“It was important for us to still have response capability during the conference,” said search manager Doug Fraser of Chilliwack Search and Rescue.

The local SAR team has actually been quite busy this month with several callouts.

“Normally October starts to slow down but it’s been steady, probably due to the good weather,” he said.

SARscene 2013 was held at the RCMP Pacific Region Training Centre (PRTC)  with attendees taking in workshops, discussion panels, SAR games, and an awards banquet.

“It was a great venue for it with everything we needed,” Fraser said.

Of the 41 Chilliwack SAR members, about half were actively involved in some way in putting on the event.

“It was a fair amount of work,” he said, adding that national conference organization was a first for the local SAR team to his knowledge.

A friendly competition was waged during the SAR Games that were held near the display area, but local volunteers were too busy with organizational tasks to compete, Fraser said.