The Ground Search and Rescue team has grown from three to 16 volunteers since 2013 and to aid their efforts the Port of Prince Rupert has contributed $52,500 for training and equipment.
Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue (PRGSAR) manager Dallas Allison was among the three who first revived the team and they had to use their own equipment. “We were incapable of recruiting because we’re asking somebody to buy $2,000 worth of gear in order to join our team and volunteer,” he said.
With the financial benefit from the Port of Prince Rupert’s Community Investment Fund, PRGSAR are able to provide the required response gear to their members and to establish a proper Incident Command Post with printers, laminators and maps.
“They’ve improved our safety dramatically by providing a lot of the safety equipment. One of the biggest ones is having portable repeaters for improving communications, which is always the number one issue on any search,” Allison said.
New members for this year’s intake had their evaluation night on Nov. 2 at Totem Park. They demonstrated their basic knowledge of knots, rope throw rescues for swift water, interviewing techniques, tracking and being efficient with the radio.
PRGSAR has 30 active members who conduct more than 2,500 hours of annual training and they have responded to many incidents, including a recent call to find two lost hikers on Mount Hays on Oct. 17.
“Volunteers play such a vital role in maintaining and improving the quality of life we enjoy in this community. Providing help with their efforts is an important way we reinvest the profits of our operations,” said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert.
“Hiking, hunting and foraging play a large role the lives of many in our communities, and Prince Rupert Ground Search and Rescue is a primary organization involved in ensuring their safety should something go wrong. Outfitting these volunteers with the tools they need to perform this service is a project we’re proud to promote and support.”
The support from the port will also help improve recruitment, retention and provide professional training to members, said Allison. This is the second major investment for the society this year. In August, the provincial government gave a $25,000 boost to the team.
For more information on PRGSAR volunteer opportunities and activities visit their Facebook page.