It may have been a record busy weekend for Arrowsmith Search and Rescue, with three searches on top of their practice and parade plans.
“After a search Saturday, Sunday morning we had a general practice scheduled from
9 to 11, then we were going to clean up and get ready for the Family Day Parade at noon,” said ASR search manager Gordon Yelland.
“Saturday afternoon we were called out by B.C. Ambulance to assist with a woman who was bucked off a horse on a trail a few kilometres behind Coombs,” he said.
He said they travelled back into the trails and old logging roads with the Coombs Volunteer Fire Department to assist in moving the woman with their special one wheeled stretcher.
“She had suspected back injuries. She was conscious and coherent, in some pain. We put her in a spine board and transported her out,” he said.
He said 13 of their volunteer members were involved for a total of about three hours, but rather than going home for the rest of the weekend, they were soon called again.
“Sunday morning around 2 a.m. we were called out to look for an intoxicated female who was out for a walk alone with her dog in the Dashwood area about three and a half hours earlier.”
He said about 30 of their members eventually responded to two call-outs as they scoured the backroads before the police found her around 8:30 a.m.
“We were pretty close to calling in other groups,” Yelland said, explaining they go through Emergency Management B.C. to get reinforcement from neighbouring search and rescue groups in Nanaimo, Comox, Port Alberni or even Campbell River and further afield if needed.
He said they look at the energy level of their volunteers, how long the search goes on and things like having started at 2 a.m., “meaning people probably hadn’t had a lot of sleep.”
“We were helped by it being Sunday morning, so people didn’t have to go to work,” he said, but the female was located before a call was made and it took them to 10 a.m. to wrap up.
It turned out the 50-year-old woman had gone to a nearby hotel after an argument.
“As soon as we were able to contact local hotels in the morning we found her,” said RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman.
“We had to take it seriously because we didn’t know her level of intoxication and she was from Alberta and was not familiar with the area,” he said.
Foreman said it was “just a large inconvenience,” but a good result to the situation, adding “it’s not like we can charge someone for not reporting they were going to a hotel.”
So rather than their scheduled practice Sunday morning, Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members cleaned up and headed to the Qualicum Beach Family Day Parade where they got to show off their brand new truck.
Over the weekend ASR also sent three members to assist with a search in Nanaimo, highlighting their mutual aid work and the busy weekend.
“There’s no pattern to it,” Yelland said of their call volume, pointing to their record busy winter season.
While they had 32 calls in all of 2014, they got 18 in January-March alone. That died off to a more normal three or four calls a month in April and May, until the three calls in the last two days of the month. The group is also busy expanding their hall at the Coombs #2 Fire Hall, which they hope to start construction on this summer.
Visit www.asar.ca for more information or to help the busy group of volunteers.