While the Central Cariboo Search and Rescue hall is all quiet on the western front, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic the crew has adapted operations to keep members and the public safe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue implements adaptive measures for COVID-19 response

In an effort to respond to emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) began making some changes several weeks ago.

“We were very proactive due to the leadership of our Chief Rick White,” said CCSAR media spokesperson Debra Bortolussi. “When Rick saw what was happening in Europe we had phone call meeting, cancelled practices and divided our crews into response teams.”

Each team has a chief, a manager, a team leader and four to six members.

Teams rotate, taking turns being on call.

Between the existing auto-ex and land-sar teams there are enough managers, she added.

“Let’s say team A goes to a call and the dispatcher indicates the patient has flu-like symptoms or COVID-19. Crew members would wear protective gear, attend the patient, and then go off duty and all get tested if needed,” Bortolussi explained.

Crews are wiping down all gear, trucks and clothing after a call before re-entering the CCSAR hall on Mackenzie Avenue to limit exposure.

Read more: COVID-19: Williams Lake resident encourages everyone to ‘make some noise’ for essential workers

They responded to a motor vehicle incident on Monday, March 23, on Highway 20, with one team and another one on backup.

“We encourage the public to make sure and let the 911 dispatcher know if you have flu symptoms if you are calling for aid,” Bortolussi said.

Search and rescue units, police, ambulance, fire departments and hospitals cannot just close the door, she added.

“We were very fortunate to have been proactive and taken the situation seriously right away.”

All crew members are volunteers.

Read more: CCSAR and neighbouring SAR members acquire ice rescue certification


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusEmergency Preparedness

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

EDITORIAL: No time for April fools

As we adjust, cope, our community responds in different ways

2020 BC Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees: Bayliff family and Chilancoh Ranch

Historic ranch honoured in Ranching Pioneer and Century Ranch categories

Visitor to Kamloops army club tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The individual visited Anavets 290 Army and Navy Club between March 13 and March 17

Lives impacted, lessons learned during COVID-19

Visiting his dying father revealed difficult conditions for frontline workers, Ingemar Kallman said

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

How to cope with your mental health during a global pandemic

Becca Shears, clinical counsellor in Vanderhoof speaks about ways to deal with stress and anxiety during this time.

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read