NSAR Mission Statement
As a team of dedicated volunteers we strive to develop and maintain, with a high degree of proficiency, the skills necessary to better serve the public and ensure the safety of our members while performing SAR related tasks.
Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in British Columbia is done solely by volunteers.
On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, these unpaid professionals provide their time, their own gear and their dedication and expertise at no cost to the people of BC, and to the subjects they rescue. There are 80 Ground SAR Groups in BC representing approximately 2500 unpaid professionals on call at all times. Each group is responsible for a certain region of the province; they assess the kind of terrain they need to respond to, and the weather and mountain conditions they need to operate in. Dividing the province into regions allows each group to tailor its response capability to the needs of the communities they serve, and lets local knowledge and experience guide how the groups respond to tasks.
All SAR teams in BC operate under the policies, procedures and guidelines set out by Emergency Management BC. These include safety plans, standards for training and rescue equipment, and rules under which a SAR group may be activated, and “stood down.” Ground SAR is generally under the jurisdiction of the RCMP or other police forces for missing persons, but other agencies can “task” a SAR group to respond.
- BC Ambulance Service BCAS is often the first call for an injured person. If that person is a significant distance from a road, BCAS frequently calls for SAR to assistance to access, stabilize, package and transport the subject; all skills that SAR groups train for. Search and Rescue has a very close relationship with BCAS, and many paramedics are SAR volunteers in their spare time.
- BC Coroner’s Service The tragic result of some SAR tasks is the death of a subject. Any death in BC calls into the jurisdiction of the BC Coroner’s service. However, because of weather, terrain or remote locations, BCCS will regularly ask SAR for assistance to transport the deceased.
However, all SAR teams in BC operate under the policies, procedures and guidelines set out by Emergency Management BC. These include safety plans, standards for training and rescue equipment, and rules under which a SAR group may be activated, and “stood down.”
Ground SAR is generally under the jurisdiction of the RCMP or other police forces for missing persons, but other agencies can “task” a SAR group to respond.
- Fire Departments Fire/rescue services are responsible for all rescue within municipal boundaries and are the first responders to many medical rescues. Fire departments regularly work closely with SAR to maintain interoperability for when specialized rescue techniques are required, or when a rescue requires additional resources.
- Canadian Armed Forces The military can ask SAR to assist in its duties to search for and access downed aircraft, or watercraft in distress.
- Parks Canada There are seven national parks in British Columbia which take up a huge area of land. While Parks Canada maintains a group of professional and extremely well trained rescue personnel in these parks, they can request additional SAR resources when needed. A reciprocal agreement is in place where Parks Canada can assist outside of their parks in certain circumstances.