Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members perform rope training. The organization will hold an informational meeting for prospective new members Jan. 19.

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members perform rope training. The organization will hold an informational meeting for prospective new members Jan. 19.

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue seeking new members

Parksville Qualicum Beach-based organization offers free training

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue (ASAR) is looking for new members to begin training later this month and will host an informational meeting Thursday, Jan. 19.

Anyone interested in finding out about this fully volunteer organization and its place in the Emergency Management B.C. community is invited to attend the meeting beginning at

7:30 p.m. at the SAR hall directly behind the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Hall, located at 3237 Alberni Highway.

Essentially, ASAR is responsible for urban, wildland and inland waterway rescue and recovery operations in the mid-Island area, from the Nanoose overpass north to Cook Creek and from Mt. Arrowsmith across to Lasqueti and Jedidiah islands.

The organization currently has approximately thirty active members and it is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. Call-outs range from searching for lost or injured hikers, hunters and ATV riders to missing children and seniors. Search operations can also involve the rescue and/or recovery of persons in environments that require the specialized training provided by its rope rescue, swift water, equine and ATV teams.

All training is provided at no cost, although such personal items as boots, outdoor clothing and packs are the responsibility of the individual.

Those interested in becoming members must submit an application form and complete an interview with senior group members. Once selected, the new members will be expected to attend a “Member in Training” course, which is held over five weeks, on basic ground search and rescue skills. Upon completion the new members will be able to participate in search operations with the group.

After this introduction there will be a more in-depth, complete ground search and rescue course which is required for full certification and advancement to specialty teams or to search management. This course is approximately 100 hours in length and is delivered over five months. It includes both classroom lectures, field exercises and written examinations.

Those who may not be interested in “beating around the bush” at odd hours can still make a significant contribution to search and rescue, and are certainly invited to attend the information meeting.

ASAR is looking for people to form a “logistics team” that would aid with business and finance, driving, food delivery on overnight searches, inventory control and maintenance.

While ASAR understands people have busy lives and prior obligations to families and work, being a member of ASAR is an important commitment to the community and any decision to join needs to be considered thoroughly. It is looking for people who are able to attend a minimum of 50 per cent of call-outs and applicable training, and who are willing to contribute to the general, ongoing running of the organization.

For further information on membership with Arrowsmith Search and Recue please visit www.asar.ca.

— NEWS Staff and

ASAR submission