Central Cariboo Search and Rescue volunteers Grayson Eglin (left) and Kevin Rowley (right) with Wayne Pelley (inside the car) during an auto extrication course held in Williams Lake.

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue volunteers Grayson Eglin (left) and Kevin Rowley (right) with Wayne Pelley (inside the car) during an auto extrication course held in Williams Lake.

Search and Rescue crew keeps skills sharp

Volunteers with Cariboo Search and Rescue (SAR) recently honed their auto extrication skills during a weekend workshop in Williams Lake.

Volunteers with Cariboo Search and Rescue (SAR) recently honed their auto extrication skills during a weekend workshop held in Williams Lake.

For some of the members it was their first time taking the course, for others it was a refresher.

“I’ve taken it three or four times but I always learn new techniques,” said Chief of SAR Operations Rick White, who has been with the group since 1997.

On a Saturday afternoon, under the hot sun at Bee Jays Auto Wrecking and Towing, 10 members were busy with hands-on learning.

Instructor Allen Tonn of KGG fire rescue in Nanaimo, who was teaching the 20-hour course, said they spent Friday evening doing theory at the SAR hall on Mackenzie Avenue, and on Sunday would work on techniques.

“Today is all about scenarios,” Tonn smiled. “I give them instructions and then leave them to it.”

In the course students learn to assess a motor vehicle incident, stabilize a vehicle, and remove and extricate patients in a variety of situations.

“It’s not about taking patients out but about removing the auto from the patient — hence auto extrication,” Tonn said, adding the course meets the National Fire Protection Act 1006 level one.

As he described how to do a trunk entry to a group milling around an upside down vehicle he told them they would literally have to make a tunnel.

“The first time you do it it takes a while, but once you know how, it goes really fast,” he assured the group. “First you hook it, strap it and pop the trunk.”

Recalling theory from the night before, volunteer Alana Sand chuckled and said the strapping was necessary in case there was a monkey in the trunk.

Across the yard a second group was learning how to remove the roof from a vehicle to make a third door.

“They are using tools and getting a feel for how it’s done,” Tonn said. “Bee Jays has donated the cars and drained them. Later today they will build two new scenes for us. It’s great to have a tow company willing to support the program.”

First year heavy duty mechanic Grayson Eglin joined the team in November 2014 but had been involved with a mine rescue for six years prior to that.

“This is all new technique for me,” Eglin said, explaining the hydraulic power used with the rescue tools or jaws of life, are “high, nice and slow.”

As he peeked out from inside the back of car, Wayne Pelly said he’s been a volunteer with SAR for five years.

He’s also done 15 years of rescue and first aid at Gibraltar Mine and is the co-chair of the safety committee there.

After the course was over, White said it was amazing.

“Our two teams each did three scenarios on Sunday,” he said. “Next year I think we will try to do a heavy truck course, involving semis and tankers, that sort of thing.”

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

Just Posted

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

A COVID-19 sign is seen last spring at the First Nations community of Canim Lake (Tsq’ scen). (Martina Dopf photo)
Another Canim Lake elder dies of COVID-19

The man was the husband of an elder who died last month outside the community.

Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 24.
This Pink Shirt Day let’s ‘lift each other up’

There are several warning signs regarding bullying:

The COVID-19 cluster in the Williams Lake area has been declared contained by Interior Health. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Interior Health declares Williams Lake area COVID-19 cluster contained

Four new cases have been reported since Feb. 19

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. reports 559 new cases of COVID-19, one death

4,677 cases of the virus remain active in the province; 238 people are in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Canucks left wing Antoine Roussel (26) tries to get a shot past Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks cough up 3-0 lead, fall 4-3 to visiting Edmonton Oilers

Vancouver falls to 8-13-2 on the NHL season

Jessica McCallum-Miller receives her signed oath of office from city chief administrative officer Heather Avison on Nov. 5, 2018 after being elected to Terrace City Council. McCallum-Miller resigned on Feb. 22, 2021, saying she felt unsupported and unheard by council. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace’s 1st Indigenous councillor resigns citing ‘systemic and internalized racism,’ sexism

McCallum-Miller said in a Facebook post she felt unheard and unsupported by council

Temporary changes to allow for wholesale pricing for the hospitality industry were implemented June 2020 and set to expire March 31.	(Pixabay photo)
Pubs, restaurants to pay wholesale prices on liquor permanently in COVID-recovery

Pre-pandemic, restaurateurs and tourism operators paid full retail price on most liquor purchases

Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire. Image: The Canadian Press
Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell makes third attempt at bail on sex charges

Maxwell claims she will renounce her U.K. and French citizenships if freed

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds agree people with mental illness should have access to MAID — in 2 years

This is one of a number of changes to Bill C-7 proposed by the government

. (Photo courtesy of Shane Chartrand)
Grants aim to replenish threatened Indigenous food systems in B.C.

The grants range from $100 to $10,000 and cover activities such as creating food or medicine gardens,

Most Read