In 2019 Penticton Search and Rescue’s (PENSAR) 37 active members contributed over 7,500 volunteer hours serving the community.
According to the organization’s year-end report, this is more than normal thanks in large part to being called out to more tasks than in previous years.
In the past year, the organization has responded to 46 calls for service from BC Ambulance, RCMP and mutual response requests from other search and rescue groups in the region.
Read more: Injured hiker rescued from Skaha Bluffs
The majority of PENSAR’s calls in 2019 involved mountain bikers or climbers seeking medical evacuation. These were came from areas such as Campbell Mountain, the Three Blind Mice biking system, and Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park.
PENSAR president Randy Brown explained that their helicopter long line rescue team was utilized ten times to assist with the evacuation of injured individuals in the backcountry.
Brown said his organization is keenly aware of volunteer burnout and that increasing their numbers with dedicated personnel is always on their minds.
That being said, PENSAR increased its roster by 18 members following a successful fall recruitment campaign. Following a 70-hour ground search and rescue training in January these new members will be able to hit the ground in May when call volumes begin to increase.
In preparation for spring, PENSAR encouraged all trail users and backcountry enthusiasts to utilize phone apps such as Trailforks or the Adventure Smart trip planner.
“These simple little tools can save your life and help us get to you quicker,” said Brown.
The organization wished the entire community of Penticton and District a Merry Christmas, and happy trails in 2020.
Continue reading: Penticton Search and Rescue locate missing man