Search and Rescue crews scrambling

As of Wednesday, the unit has responded to 77 incidents during 2016.

Vernon Search and Rescue members prepare for emergencies during all seasons of the year.

The calls keep coming for Vernon Search and Rescue.

As of Wednesday, the unit has responded to 77 incidents during 2016.

“It’s the busiest year ever,” said Leigh Pearson, a longtime search manager.

During an average year, there are 39 calls.

Some of the increase is related to the unit’s helicopter winch team assisting in other regions, but the primary reason for more callouts is unknown.

“I’m not sure if more people are venturing out,” said Pearson.

Among those who required assistance were lost or injured hikers and snowmobilers, as well as boaters on local lakes.

There has been a significant increase in the number of individuals walking away from Vernon care homes.

“With an urban search, there are so many ways the people you are looking for can cover ground. They can get on a bus and be gone,” said Pearson.

“There are also a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in with buildings.”

Back in the bush, technology is creating some challenges.

A hiker may use a spot beacon to contact their family regularly but then the messages suddenly stop. As a result, Search and Rescue is called because it’s believed the hiker is missing or injured.

Often the hiker is fine when located but it’s discovered the beacon is no longer working.

“They were doing everything right (sending messages) but the equipment is not 100 per cent,” said Pearson.

The unit’s 60 members are volunteers and they leave their families and jobs when called out for a search.

“Our mileage is covered but there is no wage. We do it because it needs to be done and it’s the right thing to do,” said Pearson.

Beyond the searches, countless hours are spent on training and ensuring the integrity of the equipment.




Just Posted

WATCH: Vernon ready to wheel out special cycling program

Cycling Without Age aims to give seniors and less-abled bodies free rides on specially made bike

Telus supports second chapter of Vernon reading program

Literacy initiative gains $10,000 boost

‘Mountain high’ sewer rates frustrate Silver Star property owners

Silverhawk Utilities said they are working to address the property owners association’s concerns

Queen Silver Star issues call for Vernon royalty

Applications sought for excellence program from North Okanagan teens

Overdose training challenge picks up in Vernon

Various groups and businesses working to save lives

Temperatures on the rise for the Okanagan Valley

Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather update

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Vernon RCMP officers get their man

Individual arrested in takedown along Alexis Park Drive Monday afternoon

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Kelowna DJs organize own shows to fill gap in music scene

The DJs wanted to create somewhere people could enjoy their music safely

In Photos: Classic snowmobiles pushed to their limits in fun races

The Burner in Malakwa served as the venue for races show cases older sleds

Most Read