Comox Valley Search & Rescue members prepare for a training session. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Valley Search and Rescue volunteers invaluable to the community

The Comox Valley Search and Rescue (CVSAR) is a 100 per cent volunteer-run organization, whose volunteers are at the ready, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if the need arises.

CVSAR has been saving lives in the Comox Valley for more than 45 years, covering all areas from Oyster River in the north to Cook Creek in the south and from Buttle Lake in the west to the Georgia Strait in the east, including Denman and Hornby Islands.

The CVSAR team also works with other search and rescue teams across the province to provide mutual aid for more expansive searches.

CVSAR is a team focused upon excellence, possessing highly skilled, highly trained, deeply committed team members utilizing sophisticated technology and researched-based, data-driven decision-making to support risk management, planning and operations. Skill sets are deep, providing provincially recognized instructors and leaders in rope rescue, K-9 operations, tracking, avalanche response, incident command, lost person behaviour and search management.

The CVSAR started in 1974. In its infancy, the society responded to few calls for assistance each year. As skill sets advanced and equipment and training improved, so did the demand for service. With each callout, the team’s reputation grew locally and provincially.

In 2017, the 60+ members of the CVSAR collectively contributed more than 12,000 hours to search and rescue operations, educational programs, and community events.

Today, the dedicated men and women of Comox Valley Search and Rescue respond to upwards of 60 emergency events per year at home and throughout the province.

Being a CVSAR member is a massive time commitment.

Each member can spend literally hundreds of hours a year on team activities. General training is Wednesday nights, plus one weekend per month; there is a minimum requirement of 30 hours of general training per year to be field active. There is additional training for specialty teams such as rope and swift water once or twice a month – both these team require a minimum of 20 hours training per year. In addition, time is required for business meetings, special courses and other activities like fundraising, community events or education. Call-outs are often at night in bad weather.

The team consumes a lot of members’ free time. The time commitment cannot be emphasized enough.

The CVSAR is a member of the British Columbia Search and Rescue Association.

For more information on how to become involved with Comox Valley Search and Rescue, cvgsar.com/ and click the ‘Become a SAR Member’ prompt.

Comox ValleySearch and Rescue

 

Comox Valley Search & Rescue members work on their 'stretcher assist with ropes' technique during a training session near the Comox dam. Photo by Terry Farrell

CVSAR rescued five people and two dogs in brutal conditions. Photo supplied