SAR New Initiatives Fund
SAR NIF Funding Announcement
Alzheimer Society and RCMP working together to help save lives
The Alzheimer Society, in partnership with the RCMP, has announced a boost in funding thanks to the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF) to build on the success of the current Safely Home™ - Alzheimer Wandering Registry program.
The Safely Home Registry is a nationwide program that was developed in 1995 to assist police in finding people who become lost. Today, there are approximately 26,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Canada registered.
The two year - $1.18 million SAR NIF contribution will help support initiatives such as nationwide training workshops for search and rescue personnel and organizations that care for those with Alzheimer’s, as well as investigating technical monitoring tools such as GPS tracking devices for evaluation guidelines.
“When a person with Alzheimer’s disease becomes lost, finding them quickly is very important,” says Assistant Commissioner Darrell LaFosse of the RCMP’s Community, Contract and Aboriginal Policing Services. “Statistics have shown that the first 12 hours are crucial. After that time frame the chances are much greater that they may be injured or die if they are not found.”
For more information please visit www.alzheimer.ca.
SAR NIF Showcase
Ice rescue expertise in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park: Improving rescue capabilities
By Martin Gaudreault, Park Warden
Winter conditions in the Saguenay fjord can sometimes be rough due to the strong winds created by the Saguenay corridor and low temperatures. Furthermore, these conditions can rapidly fluctuate in only a few hours, moving from cold temperatures to much milder ones. Sharp differences in temperatures over a brief period of time can weaken the ice and therefore greatly increase the risks of accidents on the ice. The flow of tides and the passing by of the Canadian Coast Guard’s ice-breakers can also have an impact on the ice cover by creating cracks along the Saguenay.
Activities on the fjord during the winter, combined with the environmental conditions, can sometimes be dangerous, which can increase the risks of accidents that may require rescue interventions on the ice. The Ice Rescue Intervention Network was established in collaboration with the fire brigades of some municipalities as well as volunteers in search and rescue surrounding the Saguenay fjord, in order to ensure rapid and adequate ice rescue response, especially in the Saguenay fjord. With the 911 emergency line, the municipal services spread around the periphery of fishing sites are the best equipped to respond adequately, since these groups are already structured and trained to intervene efficiently in an emergency.
Implementation of a Rescue Intervention Network
The Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, aiming to be a leader in this field, and with a grant from the New Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR NIF), made it possible to consolidate a rescue network involving various stakeholders through the acquisition of specialized material on interventions on frozen water surfaces and flowing water. The first contingent of stakeholders was trained from 2001 to 2002 and led to the creation of six teams operating from various bases around the Saguenay fjord. Similarly, mobile units with intervention equipment were given to the trained teams. Since then, several rescue operations were carried out using the material and experience acquired, and more intervention units were purchased by municipalities that found this need relevant to their emergency services.
Expertise in ice rescue has developed in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. The park wardens are now certified as instructors in rescue techniques and will be appointed to provide intense training to the next contingent of stakeholders during the winter of 2008 and to help maintain competencies. Presently, the agreements to maintain the collaboration between municipalities and volunteers making up the network of ice rescue are being renewed. This initiative is expected to endure in order to increase the level of public safety and ensure better response to emergencies to the advantage of those using the Marine Park. The users may include winter fishermen, snowmobilers, skiers, hikers and others.
SAR NIF Showcase
Training exercises strengthen Manitoba SAR network
For the past three years, federal, provincial and volunteer search and rescue (SAR) professionals from across Manitoba have been working together to increase the effectiveness of SAR operations in the province. Through the SAR NIF project entitled Enhancing search and rescue in Manitoba through Provincial Multi-jurisdictional Exercises, SAR partners in Manitoba have benefited from hands on training and a course on winter rescue.
Three multi-agency summer training exercises which brought together a host of organizations were held in different locations around the province. The exercise scenario in 2004 involved two missing hunters overdue in unfamiliar territory. Two civilian aircrafts were provided by the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) with volunteer ground SAR teams, the RCMP D-Division and canine teams participating in the search.
In 2005 and 2006, the scenarios involved an overdue airplane carrying a pilot and two passengers. Participating in these events were volunteer ground SAR teams, a Canadian Ranger team, and a Police Team. Air support from CASARA was provided and SAR techs from 435 Squadron parachuted down to assist the victims.
“The delivery of these exercises is no small feat”, says SAR NIF project officer David Schafer from the Office of the Fire Commissioner. “Our goal was to organize large scale training exercises for members of the SAR community to network together so that regional SAR teams would then be able develop their own. We already know of one team who is looking at doing its own one day session.”
In addition to hands on training exercises, SAR responders were also able to benefit from a winter rescue and survival course which was developed through the SAR NIF project. The course covered subjects such as night navigation, overnight winter survival and shelter construction. Teams faced a -35C night in the great outdoors during the course’s emergency exercise.
“Many participants noted that until you experience spending a night outside in these conditions, you may never realize your true survival potential if suddenly faced with a true winter emergency.”, writes SAR Coordinator Scott Kerbis.
This project has had many benefits for the SAR community. Not only were SAR organizations in Manitoba able to network and promote interoperability between groups but they were also able to strengthen the provincial SAR network in Manitoba.
SAR NIF Showcase
Making outdoor activities safer for youth
Extreme sports are promoted to people of all ages as a way to stay active. Responding to the attraction of these outdoor pursuits by youths, organizations are including more edgy activities to their programs. While physical injuries are unintentional, some organizations lack the practical procedures to manage risk and prevent incidents from happening.
YouthSafe Outdoors, a SAR NIF funded project from 2004 to 2007, was created to assist organizations in managing outdoor recreation risk for the youth of Alberta. Through research and consultations with organizations across the province, the YouthSafe Outdoors team has created a portfolio of safety and risk management tools to help decision makers, leaders, parents and guardians in planning safe activities.
The project is ongoing and is working to have materials available for widespread use. These include manuals for managers in planning and running recreational activities, stay safe guidelines, an adventure leadership resource, a self-reliance instructional resource, and a manual for parents and guardians.
For more information on YouthSafe Outdoors, visit www.youthsafeoutdoors.ca.