Rope rescue refers to any rescue where a rope is required to safely move the subject, the rescuer, or both. This may be on terrain where the slope is over a certain angle, on vertical terrain, or in areas where a slip or fall will have drastic consequences. Rope rescue courses in BC teach a top-down, dual rope “static” system that is similar to many other regions in the world. Training standards are high, with certifications for team member, team leader and instructor.
Ground Search and Rescue
Utilizing diverse courses and skills, this is the core of what we do. Our GSAR 100 course covers topics including navigation, tracking, first aid, survival, ice aware, and many more.
Tracking is a very old and very useful technique for finding a lost person. It can vastly reduce the number of people and the amount of time it takes to find a lost person, but it is a skill that takes training and practise. SAR tracking certification and training are managed by the BC Tracking Association, a BCSARA member group. Various levels of certification are offered from Tracker 1, 2 and 3 to Sign Cutter.
First Aid / Wilderness First Aid
When an accident in the backcountry results in an injury, a medical response is necessary. Wilderness medicine, and wilderness first aid tools and training are required to stabilize a subject who is far from definitive medical care. SAR groups take on medical training so their members can treat and transport subjects to the hospital. Many groups benefit from the volunteer hours of members who are guides, first aid attendants, paramedics, emergency physicians, or medical doctors in their regular lives, and all SAR teams invest time and resources in training and specialized medical treatment and transportation equipment.
Some of this may include stretchers, backboard and other spinal or limb immobilization devices, Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), Pulse Oximeters, blood pressure measurement devices (sphygmomanometer), Oxygen Therapy, intravenous therapy, and standard first aid equipment. Backcountry accidents can be especially critical due to the time it can take to access the scene and stabilize the subject, and SAR groups are especially careful to train and equip for these eventualities.
Avalanche Safety & Rescue
Similar to ice rescue, most of BC has significant snow during the winter, and any operations on snow on slopes over a certain angle (steepness) involve the possibility of an avalanche. Training is required in BC for all operations in avalanche terrain regardless of the kind of rescue (avalanche or otherwise) being performed because SAR members have to travel through the avalanche hazard even if they are looking for a lost person.
Basic Avalanche rescue training involves terrain analysis, safe travel techniques, and rescue skills with avalanche transceivers, probes and shoves. Advanced training includes managing teams of people for a rescue, and team leadership. Even more advanced training is offered through the Canadian Avalanche Association’s specialized Avalanche Operations courses.
Swiftwater & Flat Water Rescue
Swift water is any moving water that has the possibility of knocking someone off their feet. BC is a province full of rivers and streams and has a significant flooding event every year with ice melt (see the BC River forecast centre for more information on this). There is a significant amount of exposure to swift water in the form of fishing, boating, kayaking and white water rafting in BC and there is a need for rescue services both for members of the public, and to keep SAR volunteers safe while searching river banks.
Swift Water Rescue training is very involved, with some courses lasting several days and covering aspects such as boat operations, shoreline rescue, disentanglement, swimming and “line across” techniques. Certifications from operations to instructor are offered.
Aside from the rivers, BC has a huge number of lakes and reservoirs, Kootenay Lake, Shushwap Lake, Okanagan Lake, Harrison Lake and Pitt Lake are just a few, very large and challenging lakes that are almost the size of inland seas. Because the mandate of ground SAR is to cover land and inland waterways, many SAR groups adjacent to lakes and rivers develop significant marine response capabilities.
Most of BC goes through a deep freeze every winter, with lakes and rivers freezing solid and various forms of recreating taking places on the frozen surfaces. Ice fishing, skating and snowmobile operations are common. When someone breaks through the ice, in many areas it is SAR members who respond and this specific and detailed rescue techniques are required.
Evacuation Notices & Orders
As mandated by Emergency Management BC, Princeton Ground Search and Rescue is trained in delivering evacuation notices and orders. During the 2017 wildfire season, our team delivered over 400 notices.
Police Evidence Search
Upon request of the RCMP or local police agencies, our Search and Rescue team will conduct evidence searches. These searches include but are not limited to a closed grid, visual and sign cutting searches. This is a specialized process that only certain members with adequate training may respond to. This is a highly detail oriented task and requires exact reporting measures.
Teaming up with AdventureSmart and other organizations, Princeton GSAR is able to offer many different education courses to adults, children and many others. Email us today to see a list of courses we may offer, or just to have an experienced SAR member discuss the importance of safety within your activity.