Search and Rescue volunteers from across B.C. gathered in Kelowna April 14-16 to build their skills in the Central Okanagan Ropes Exercise.
With SAR members from the island to Prince George and everywhere in between joining the session, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue President Brad Trites says practicing together ensures everyone is on the same page when collaborating on a task.
“It builds consistency in our techniques across the teams… We do a lot of mutual aids with other teams, so when we’re doing those mutual aids everyone is doing the exact same system and everyone has practiced and worked together in the past. It makes the job much easier.”
The training took place at Myra Adventure Park, the perfect location acording to Trites.
“Rope rescue is everything from slope rescue to high angle vertical rescue… Myra Adventure Park has all of that.”
When it comes to ropes rescues, search and rescue teams will also go from the top down.
“The reason why we don’t go bottom up is safety actually. Having the top down approach we’re able to build in the redundancy that we need to ensure that the rescuer and the subject are as safe as possible.”
The Salvation Army also used the event for training its volunteers in disaster response, supporting and feeding the team through training.
“We’ve developed a really great partnership with them… This event has given them the opportunity to train their members and get them profficient, so whether it’s a wildfire or a flooding event they are able to show up quickly and deploy and keep the other first responders there well fed and everyone comfy and happy.”
Trites says on average the COSAR team performs three ropes rescues per year.