Penticton Search and Rescue are hosting an open house for potential volunteers. (Submitted photo)

Search and rescue looking for volunteers

Penticton Search and Rescue is hosting an open house

Penticton Search and Rescue are looking for volunteers to bolster roles in the field and administration.

PenSAR was established in 1971 and has approximately 40 members who annually give over 10,000 volunteer hours.

“We are one of the 10 busiest teams in the province and response to over 50 incidents a year, and that number is increasing,” said PenSAR member Drew Kutcha, who has been a volunteer with the organization for two years and is on the swift water rescue team, training committee and helps with public relations.

“The great thing about the team is the camaraderie. You sometimes are out in the wilderness for hours and hours together so you get to know everyone pretty well. There is some enormously skilled people on the team with varied skill sets. It has been an ideal situation for me getting mentorship from senior members and gaining skills and understanding I didn’t have before,” said Kutcha.

First aid training and experience in any outdoor-related disciplines are desired, but not a requirement for application. Kutcha said it is beneficial to have some first-aid training and knowledge of the local outdoor area.

“Usually the biggest obstacle for people applying is having the time for training. Before I joined I asked my employer if they were open to me leaving during the work day to do rescues. I was fortunate to have that relationship with my work. As well, making sure that it fits with your home life. There can be times where you are taking off before breakfast or out in the middle of the night to go on a rescue,” said Kutcha, who added a typical member gives at least 200 volunteer hours per year.

The open house for potential volunteers takes place Sept. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m. at 251 Dawson Ave. Application deadline is Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. Email a resume, driver’s abstract and criminal record check to pentictonsar@gmail.com.

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