“Community Above Self”
Cowichan SAR is a registered non-profit society providing volunteer Search and Rescue services to residents of the greater Cowichan Valley.
Our territory spans the width of the Island from the Malahat summit in the south to the Chemainus River in the north. Within this territory, our members provide 24-hour, 365-day coverage for people lost or injured in the wilderness.
Every member of our group is trained to high degree of proficiency in Ground Search and Rescue techniques. All members take part in a 90-hour Justice Institute training program to acquire the basic skills required of certified SAR volunteers. As our core resource, these are the skills the public and the RCMP (and agencies such as BC Ambulance Service) rely on to assist or find people.
To maintain a high level of skill proficiency and gear inventory for various tactical search and or rescue situations, our members put countless volunteer hours towards group training, specialty team training, SAR Management, planning, organization, gear maintenance, supply inventories, and society governance. In 2013, the group recorded in excess of 5,000 volunteer hours.
Cowichan Search and Rescue also undertakes outdoor safety public education, with trained presenters for AdventureSmart, a national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians and visitors to Canada to “Get informed and go outdoors”, and Hug-a-Tree and Survive, a similar program aimed at helping lost children survive in the woods.
By following three easy steps, AdventureSmart believes that outdoor recreationalists will significantly improve their chances of survival should they become hurt or lost.
- Ten Essentials (carry the 10 essentials and know how to use them - find the list at www.adventuresmart.ca)
- Trip Planning (write a trip plan before you go and leave it with a friend or family)
- Training (obtain the skills and knowledge you need before heading out)
Some additional Cowichan SAR Background
The Cowichan Search and Rescue Society (CSAR) is a registered charitable society organized and operated by volunteer members. The group was originally formed in 1962 and registered as a society in 1992. The number of calls responded to vary from year to year and can last from hours to consecutive days. In addition to the time CSAR members spend on searches, many hours are spent on training, planning, administration, fundraising and public education.
Callouts are overseen by the RCMP, but can also come from the BC Coroners Service, Parks Canada, British Columbia Ambulance Service, fire departments, local government during civil emergencies and other SAR agencies for mutual support.
In the course of their activities, CSAR members are unpaid professionals, bearing the cost of personal equipment and training. Members fundraise through requests for financial or equipment donations and support from businesses, individuals, corporations and grants.