A helicopter lands in the middle of Vernon’s Polson Park as part of an education initiative on Sept. 27, 2019. (Contributed)

A helicopter lands in the middle of Vernon’s Polson Park as part of an education initiative on Sept. 27, 2019. (Contributed)

Heads up, North Okanagan: Search and rescue crews will soon be training in the area

VSAR has cleared its essential training activities following public health orders, having seen more people enjoying the outdoors this past year

Vernon Search and Rescue (VSAR) has seen more people enjoying — and then quickly not enjoying — the outdoors during the pandemic this past year.

And having cleared their essential training activities in accordance with public health orders, they’ll soon be in the Greater Vernon area honing their skills.

“Over the coming weeks and months you may see small groups of our members training around the community,” VSAR announced on Facebook on Friday, April 23.

The safety of volunteer rescue members and the public has been “diligently” planned for to ensure only essential training takes place for now.

“As a group, we take the current public health orders very seriously and have been very diligent to ensure that only essential training takes place at this time,” said VSAR.

The group said all of its training activities follow orders issued by the provincial health officer, as well as its governing body, the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA).

And with more people heading to the outdoors while province-wide COVID-19 infection rates hover around 1,000 per day, the society says its members will need to be sharp, and the public should be, too.

“The past year has seen an increase in the number of people enjoying our great outdoors. Please continue to keep yourself safe and help us by always being prepared when you head into the backcountry, ensure that you leave a trip plan, take the essentials and have the proper training and experience to have a safe adventure.”

VSAR has more than 50 volunteers on standby every day of the year, serving the North Okanagan and beyond with its heli-winch team.

READ MORE: Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

READ MORE: West Kelowna firefighters make a splash in North Okanagan


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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