On Jan. 28 in Terrace, Houston Search and Rescue (SAR) attended a one day training course in ice rescue put on by DiveInternational.
The course was nine hours long. Four members from Houston SAR attended, five from Terrace SAR , and two from the Bulkley Valley SAR.
The B.C. Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) promotes training and workshops for all 80 SAR teams in B.C.
“North of 100 Mile House there are 24 SAR teams. Each are funded locally through gaming grants,” said Trent Blair, RegionalDirector for B.C. Search and Rescue.
“[This course] is important for us as flat ice rescues are a possibility in our area. It’s not for moving waterways, just lakes and ponds,” commented Jocelyn Bell, a member and director of Houston SAR.
“There is a classroom and field component to the course,” said Andy Muma, president of Houston SARA. “The classroom focuses on the science of ice, ice strength, and how to best approach an emergency situation.”
In the field component, all of that theory is then put into actual application. Rescuers learned how to tie a secure rope, the different techniques of approaching, with an emphasis of not endangering the victim any further, how to get a rope around the victim quickly and out of the water to then treat for shock and hypothermia.
When asked what some of the fundamentals of the course were, Muma replied, “Safety for the rescuer comes first, and the person you are rescuing comes second, so no one else gets hurts.”
Training is about effectively performing rescues with minimized risk to all.
“Houston SAR has five people trained in swift water rescue. A lot of that gear is fairly expense, so ice rescue is something additional we are all trained to where that gear can also be utilized,” said Muma.
In the story “Vanderhoof and District’s Co-op donates $5,000 to Houston Search and Rescue” published in the Houston TodayJan. 4, 2016 issue, Houston SAR was one of 11 recipients from the initiative that received $5000 out of the $100,000 that was being distributed to financially support the purchase of a swift water boat.
Muma said that Houston SAR is still fundraising and applying for grants for life jacket and additional safety equipment for the swift water boat.