West Chilcotin SAR recruiting, hosting rescue courses

West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members hone ice water rescue skills on Martin Lake. (Selma Padgett photo)West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members hone ice water rescue skills on Martin Lake. (Selma Padgett photo)
West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members practice ice water rescue. (Selma Padgett photo)West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members practice ice water rescue. (Selma Padgett photo)
West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members walk onto a frozen lake to practice ice water rescues. (Selma Padgett photo)West Chilcotin Search and Rescue members walk onto a frozen lake to practice ice water rescues. (Selma Padgett photo)
West Chilcotin Search and Rescue uses banana boats for an ice rescue practice session. (Selma Padgett photo)West Chilcotin Search and Rescue uses banana boats for an ice rescue practice session. (Selma Padgett photo)

West Chilcotin Search and Rescue is quite excited that they can begin to have meetings again and commence with fulfilling their training goals.

With a membership of about 35, and the average age being around 64 years old, the group is actively hoping younger members will sign up.

The training scheduled for 2022 will include: Tracking Level 1 and 2, Ground SAR Team Leader training, Side-by-Side (UTV) and ATV safety training. A chainsaw operator course and water rescue training is planned for this summer. The group is currently finishing up the ground search and rescue course, which will make another group of trained members available.

Six members of the West Chilcotin Search and Rescue team recently completed an ice rescue course. The first part of the training was an online component, which taught about ice morphology, knots, safety and risk management. The two-day training included a few hours of classroom work each day, as well as practising throw bag skills, before heading to Martin Lake on day one. Some of the members had gone out the day before to cut a 12-foot-by-12-foot-hole into the lake. The ice was about 24 inches thick. The team used this opening to learn how to self-rescue, and then practiced to rescue someone who has fallen ‘through’ the ice. They brought out the RDB (rapid deployment boat), affectionately called ‘the yellow banana boat’ and learned how to use it in an ice rescue scenario. March 30 was beautiful and sunny, but an icy wind was howling across the lake, which made for a pretty chilly day. The team spent two hours jumping in and out of Martin Lake.

On day two, the morning was spent in the classroom going over first aid procedures, incident command basics and learning how to tie different kinds of knots, how to build a three-to-one system with Prussiks and pulleys and make a basic harness. In the afternoon the team drove to the boat launch on Colwell Road, got suited up into dry suits and PFDs (personal flotation devices) and paddled the banana boats up the Kliniklini River to the start of One Eye Lake, where the ice was starting to break up. Three hours were spent practising the ice rescue techniques, then the team paddled back to the water rescue truck. It was a beautiful sunny day with no wind, a lovely day to be outside. The members learned a lot and are now eager to practice the new skills.

West Chilcotin Search and Rescue is looking for young people to come and join the search team. If you are interested in joining WCSAR based in Tatla Lake, give our search manager a call @ 250-476-1123.


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