Volunteers with search and rescue play a critical role in helping first responders locate missing and injured people.
On Saturday, teams from the North Shore, West Nippising, and Timmins-Porcupine gathered near Windy Lake, northwest of Sudbury, for a training exercise in hopes of improving the way they go about their business.
Before 50 search and rescue volunteers head out into the dense bush, they all gathered for a safety briefing.
The training session involved realistic, but staged scenarios including a missing hunter and then some teens attending a pit party are reported missing.
Sandy Guse is the Vice President of Ontario Search & Rescue Association.
“Now, in order for us to get proficient at our jobs, we have to train. We can only do so much in the classroom, and the rest we do out in actual practical exercises.” said Guse.
Bill Noon is the President Northshore Search and Rescue.
“Training is what it’s all about. You train and train and it gives you the skills you need to be able to perform the tasks that you are required at the time. We can’t send people out in the bush of any kind without that kind of training.” said Noon.
Shannon Tromp is the President of West Nipissing Search and Rescue.
“A lot of uncharted areas if people decide to go off of known trails. So, a lot of people that are on the team are comfortable and experienced in the bush and just feel a sense of civic pride and duty to help out their communities.” said Tromp.
Search and rescue personnel are trained to look for clues in the wilderness when time is of the essence.
Rob Schryburt is the President of Timmins Porcupine Search and Rescue.
“Ultimately you are looking for the lost person. But what you are really looking for is clues, because we have many clues, that could be bent pieces of grass, an imprint on the ground.” said Schryburt.
Police critique the overall operation and also share search techniques and technology that helps plot out patterns and items found.
Stephane Brouillette is a constable with Greater Sudbury Police Service.
“It’s important for the police to work closely with our community partners, the volunteer search and rescue teams, in order to foster relationships and to share knowledge and experiences to work together.” said Brouillette.
Frank Rivest is an acting sergeant with Ontario Provincial Police.
“We have some really remote locations. Just to access them at times, we will have to get in by helicopter, boats. The terrain is really rugged and it’s pretty challenging at times.” said Rivest.
Search and rescue officials say training sessions provide invaluable experience and team members learn from their mistakes when no one’s life is in actual danger.
Alana Everson, Videojournalist, Sudbury @AlanaCTV