Search & Rescue
Kimberley is proud to be a community of adventurers, and we’re lucky to have great outdoor adventures waiting right outside our doors! But when adventures turn into misadventures, Kimberley Search and Rescue is on call to help get us home safely.
East Kootenay Search and Rescue Society aka Kimberley Search and Rescue (KSAR) is a group of trained volunteers who respond to requests from the RCMP and others for assistance in locating and rescuing lost or injured persons. We currently have an active membership consisting of twenty-two members, half of which have completed the Ground Search and Rescue Course (GSAR).
KSAR is a non-technical ground search and rescue group. Some rescue scenarios, such as cliff and whitewater rescue, involve a level of training that KSAR does not yet possess. As a result, if KSAR is tasked by the RCMP to conduct a rescue that we are not fully trained to perform, we will organize mutual aid support from all of the Search and Rescue groups in the East Kootenays and beyond if necessary.
KSAR responds primarily to incidents within the Kimberley RCMP detachment area, although we are currently improving our abilities to respond to mutual aid requests in conjunction with Cranbrook Search and Rescue. KSAR's area of responsibility includes an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometres – from Canal Flats in the north, east into the Rockies, south to Fort Steele and Cranbrook airport, west to include the St. Mary's drainage up to the Grey Creek Pass, then north again through the St. Mary's Alpine Park. Needless to say, it is a very large area.
KSAR also works closely with PEP, the agency responsible for coordinating government response to all emergencies or disasters that cannot be handled on a local level. In the event of such an emergency, KSAR will be integrated into a multi-agency Incident Command System (ICS) as part of the overall emergency response. PEP is also responsible for WCB coverage, operational and (some) training expenses, as well as training standards.
Search and Rescue Manager
The Search and Rescue group meets every second Tuesday of the month and some weekends at the Kimberley Fire Hall. The normal training hours are from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. On training nights, always be fully prepared to train outside – that includes bringing a ready pack.
Our training curriculum, as established by the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP), is administered by the BC Justice Institute. Courses offered include basis GSAR, Ground Search Team Leader (GSTL), Avalanche awareness, Rope Rescue, and Swift Water Rescue. KSAR also provides in-house training on such subjects as: map and compass, basic first aid, wilderness survival, rope work, winter rescue and auto extrication.
In-house training also allows KSAR to conduct the Ground Search and Rescue Course (GSAR). This is the basic training requirement for all KSAR members and is the prerequisite for many of the advanced courses taught by the Justice Institute. The course includes approximately 90 hours of theory and 50 hours of practical training and involves a significant effort by everyone involved to complete. The course is conducted periodically in-house with the help of a qualified GSAR instructor.
Teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility and above all safety, are highly emphasized. In-house training is not intended to replace PEP-mandated course work or pre-requisites, but rather it is to introduce new members to the Search and Rescue environment and to practice and maintain skills that all members must be proficient with.
1. Joining Qualifications (resource status)
- Must be at least 16 years of age. 19 years of age and proper training to operate an extrication unit or winter rescue.
- Must attend six (6) consecutive meetings/training sessions as an orientation period.
- Must contact an Executive member/director if not attending (reasonable excuse).
- Upon the decision of the Directors, be placed in the member training status after three (3) months.
2. Member in Training Status (after completion of trial period)
- Attend seventy-five (75)% of training sessions.
- Must contact member of the Executive if not attending (reasonable excuse).
- Upon the decision of the Directors, be placed on the active member roster after six (6) months.
- Register with the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP).
3. Active Member Status
- Must maintain an active role in the Search and Rescue group.
- Must keep certificates and training current.
- Non-attendance for three (3) consecutive months gives reason to place the member back to training status or resource status.
- Only active members will have a vote at Society meetings.