They’re there when a child wanders away or snowmobilers don’t return home on time. Scrambling across ice or navigating rough waters, their ultimate goal is to be there for others at risk.
Vernon Search and Rescue has served the North Okanagan since 1960 and it’s now looking for an infusion of new members.
“There’s a constant attrition that goes through any group and we need to keep our ranks strong,” said Chris Henderson, president.
An open house for prospective new volunteers will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the SAR office next to the Regional District of North Okanagan on Aberdeen Road.
The hope is to draw 10 to 12 men and women and all details are laid bare at the open house.
“We want people to make an informed decision about what this is. We want their families to be fully aware of what’s involved before they say yes,” said Henderson.
Topping the list of considerations is time.
“The expectation of a member-in-training is they will put in a reasonable effort in the first two years. They need to develop their skills,” said Henderson.
Beyond training, call-outs will pull members away from their families and their jobs.
“They can come at all hours of the night and during the work day,” said Henderson of searches.
There are about 65 SAR members and they commit more than 5,000 hours annually to the organization. On average, there are 40 searches a year.
Activities include ground and water searches, but more technical skills can also be developed involving swift water and ice rescues.
Some SAR members are also able to reach remote locations by helicopter.
They can also provide assistance to RCMP seeking evidence during cases.
Prospective members can come from all communities in the North Okanagan and all walks of life.
“We are looking for anyone who has an interest in the community,” said Henderson.
“We have paramedics and guides and there are also lawyers, teachers and accountants who want to help out.”
For more information, go to vernonsar.ca.