To further hone its skills, Nanaimo Search and Rescue hosted a joint training exercise on Saturday with partner organizations.
Along with Nanaimo Search and Rescue, its counterparts from Cowichan, Ladysmith, Arrowsmith, Salt Spring Island and the Nanaimo Snowmobile Club, Civil Air Search and Rescue Association and Coast Emergency Communications Association all took part. Training involved a fictional scenario of a plane crash and reports of someone parachuting away. In order to maintain realism and urgency, information about the scenario was not made known until very close to training time.
Nanaimo search and rescue member and media liaison Kyle Van Delft said teams covered the ground looking for any signs of the survivor and wreckage. In conjunction, aircraft scoured the area to provide support.
“Our members train weekly just to keep the required skills up but things like this, the full-scale exercises that we do on the weekends with multiple teams, test us even further,” said Van Delft. “So they allow us to practise the skills we aren’t able to practise in a couple of hours throughout the week.”
He said the training allowed for networking among the various groups and since the groups trained together, it will allow things to flow smoothly in a real-life rescue effort.
Time is important in search and rescue operations and the first couple of hours in a rescue situation are where the biggest impact can be made, Van Delft said.
“If people do find themselves lost, [get] information out or [have] friends or family contacting 911 as soon as possible. There isn’t a 24-hour waiting period, there’s no requirement to wait before they call for help,” he said.