If anyone has ever been lost or stranded in the local backwoods or waterways, they likely owe a debt of thanks to members of the Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue.
Well, the team is now looking to expand, said team manager Rick Laing who issued a call for new recruits.
This highly trained group of volunteers, who are on call 24/7, 365 days of the year, respond to upwards of 20 to 30 calls a year, ranging from lost or injured hikers, to stranded boaters, medical rescues in remote locations, and specialized swiftwater and high angle rescues.
He noted that their main areas of response consists of Golden Ears Provincial Park, Alouette Lake, Pitt Lake, and Fraser River. They also assist other teams around the Lower Mainland and the province, as needed and available.
At present, they have 18 active field members who take on the majority of the workload that keeps the team operational. And Laing noted that SAR is looking for active field members who are physically fit and up for training to help in rescues and search.
But he said they’re also looking for other skill sets that might aid in the operational end.
These other recruits, referred to as support members, handle all of the work that goes on behind the scene consisting of administrative work, accounting, fundraising, managing equipment, and such, Laing explained.
“We are looking to recruit additional active field members, as well as support members to help relieve some workload,” he said.
A key point people need to be aware of going in, Laing added, is that this is an unpaid volunteer position.
Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue is a volunteer SAR group based in Maple Ridge. As one of more than 80 SAR groups in B.C., they respond to calls from local law enforcement, BCAS and local municipal government to wilderness and urban searches and rescues.
On top of regular training and responding to calls, members are also asked to participate in community events, as a means of increasing the profile and awareness for the team.
Brent Boulet, a relative newbie to the team with three years under his belt, said the team is hoping to recruit eight to 10 active members and possibly another five or more support members.
So, towards that end, the team typically holds a recruitment blitz every two years, and they’re gearing up for one now.
They’re hosting a pair of information sessions in the coming weeks. They are at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and another on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the search headquarters next to Planet Ice in Albion (23598 105th Ave.)
“Some new members come and go often. Either they join the team and find out that its not what they expect, or they can’t find time outside of other obligations like family, work, or school,” Boulet explained of the ongoing need for recruitment.
Boulet grew up in and around Ridge Meadows SAR because his father was a member.
“I had always been inspired to be a member…and always had a passion for the outdoors,” he said of his motivation to join.
“Whether it be mountain biking, skiing, or hiking, I love being outdoors. So what better reason to join a team of people who share the same interests I do. Aside from getting to help people in need, joining SAR has and continues to expand my experience, knowledge, and passion of the wilderness,” Boulet concluded.
Applications and more information is also available online at www.rmsar.bc.ca.
@ Copyright 2013