Penticton Search and Rescue on the hunt for new recruits

The volunteer group is looking at adding 10-14 recruits to their roster of 34, coming off one of their busiest years to date.

Steve Ritchey of Penticton Search and Rescue

If coming to the rescue of those in distress is something you are interested in, Penticton Search and Rescue (PENSAR) may have a spot for you.

The volunteer group is looking at adding 10-14 recruits to their roster of 34, coming off one of their busiest years to date.

An open house on Sept. 5 at 251 Dawson Avenue from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. will show those interested the ropes.

“This year we’re looking for more volunteers because this past year has been our busiest year,” said Randy Brown, public relations officer for Penticton Search and Rescue.

On average, PENSAR is sent out on 30-32 operations or “task days,” this year crews have responded to about 45. The crews in Penticton also assist other teams in the Okanagan including Kelowna, Vernon, Keremeos and Princeton.

“The open house this weekend is to encourage people who are outdoor enthusiasts and want to join a team that’s dynamic if they have some time available to contribute,” Brown said.

Volunteers will assist PENSAR in medical evacuations in the backcountry areas of the Okanagan.

The open house will display the technical side of things relating to ground search and rescue, rope rescues as well as boat and helicopter rescue teams. Potential candidates will be given an overview of what PENSAR is all about and outline training requirements. Candidates will also be shown some of the basic equipment involved in PENSAR operations, and what they will have to provide themselves for equipment.

“The ideal candidate is somebody who number one has an interest and number two is committed to the training,” Brown said.

Those who are chosen out of the selection process will have to complete a 75-hour ground search and rescue course.

“We’re looking at somebody who is going to be committed to taking that training this fall,” Brown said. “It covers a wide range of things from survival to tracking, map and compass and rope rescue skills. There’s a wide range of areas that we teach people.”

Brown added they are searching for people with first aid training, however PENSAR will provide first aid training as well.

Another key trait PENSAR is looking for is availability, being able to spend the time on different tasks the crews take on, including helping with emergencies. PENSAR crews were recently tasked with aiding evacuation efforts in Oliver due to the wildfires.

“We do things like that, besides the basic search and rescue stuff we help out with evacuations or support local governments in times of emergencies,” Brown said.

Aside from the open house, PENSAR is also looking to recruit funding partners.

“A lot of people think that we’re 100 per cent wholly government funded. It’s not the case. We get a small grant from the Regional District, but our operation budget is $60,000-$65,000 a year to keep the doors open,” Brown said. “We’re really wholly dependent on community support and donations. It’s amazing how many people don’t know it.”

PENSAR is looking at maintaining sustainable funding throughout the community. Brown said hot dog sale-style fundraising efforts are not very practical for the volunteers who spend much of their time training and gaining qualifications.

“People don’t have a lot of time to do the fundraising traditionally,” Browns said. “I’d rather have people train, train, train and be ready to go.”

PENSAR is looking at small businesses to support their efforts with nominal fees, however the plan isn’t concrete as of yet. Brown said he would like a global community to support PENSAR, not just a select few.

Brown said that PENSAR is a positive addition to the community.

“If anybody gets injured they call us, we won’t charge you a fee or anything for it,” Brown said. “We just get out there and do it, so the police and ambulance really depend on us to respond with people who are well trained.”

 

 

Just Posted

Photos: Sick rides came out to support sick kids at the Penticton Shriners Show & Shine

The annual event, held in Okanagan Falls, benefits the Shriners Care for Kids Program

Cyclist in distress prompts Hwy 3A closure

BC Air Ambulance transported the male, believed to be in his 50s, to a nearby hospital

Cannabis Cottage opens its doors in Penticton

The third dispensary in the city opened on Saturday

Penticton Minor Lacrosse Alum returns from Worlds Junior to stay in Canada

Aidan Danby helped Canada to sweep the tournament

Vees sweep up their first preseason win Friday night

The team is off to take on the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

Man shot near Coalmont airlifted to hospital

A man was shot near Coalmont B.C. Saturday afternoon. The victim was… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

Renter of torched Okanagan home a British Army veteran, new Canadian

Owen Wilson was just beginning to settle into life in Canada when the blaze occurred

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Most Read