Land

Backcountry Access

Accessing the backcountry in the Okanagan almost always involves driving on a variety of gravel roads. With the increase of wilderness activity by outdoor enthusiasts SAR teams require the specialty vehicles to access a rescue area.

PENSAR over the years has continually updated its vehicle fleet and can now respond with a variety of 4×4 rescue units. Once the road ends, PENSAR also has the ability to reach the area by deploying 2 of its John Deere Off Road 4×4 “side by sides”. In the winter, PENSAR has access to snowmobiles and other tracked vehicles through mutual aid agreements with other nearby SAR groups.

Ground Search & Rescue

GSAR is the core service of our organization. All PENSAR members must complete the 70 hour GSAR certification before becoming operational. The GSAR program covers interviewing, map & compass, communication, survival, basic rope & stretcher evacuation, tracking and other lifesaving skills that will assist the team member in becoming an effective responder in the field. GSAR skills are practiced weekly.

GSAR is the core of our Program and we are routinely deployed to conduct rural and rural searches for missing persons. In times of disaster we have been deployed to assist local governments in residential evacuations

High Angle Rope Rescue

Our team will respond to any rescue where a rope is required to safely move the subject, the rescuer, or both. This may be on terrain where the slope is over a certain angle, on vertical terrain, or in areas where a slip or fall will have drastic consequences. Training standards are high, with certifications for team members and team leaders maintained to the highest levels.

Rescue Communications

BC, by its nature, has one thing in common; varying large, rugged and often remote terrain. Along with the access issues detailed above, for a safe execution of a rescue PENSAR has invested in a communications strategy to ensure communication with field teams which includes an established radio network with a repeater station on Apex Mountain, along with transportable portable stations and a Mobile Command Centre to support safe search and rescue operations out of an area where communications are limited.

OUR TEAM

SAR MANAGEMENT

With all of these rescue techniques, there has to be some organization behind it all, and that is the role of the SAR Manager. Far from being paid, PENSAR has a cadre of these individuals who are experienced searchers who had risen through the ranks to become trained incident commanders, proficient in understanding maps, search theory, and the tactics and strategies to locate and rescue those person(s) in need.

PENSAR’s trained managers are all certified in Search Management and Incident Command System (ICS), which provides them the tools to work side by side with the RCMP, BC Emergency Health Service, BC Coroner’s service and other emergency responders. Our managers are responsible for the safety of their team.

SAR MANAGEMENT

With all of these rescue techniques, there has to be some organization behind it all, and that is the role of the SAR Manager. Far from being paid, PENSAR has a cadre of these individuals who are experienced searchers who had risen through the ranks to become trained incident commanders, proficient in understanding maps, search theory, and the tactics and strategies to locate and rescue those person(s) in need.

PENSAR’s trained managers are all certified in Search Management and Incident Command System (ICS), which provides them the tools to work side by side with the RCMP, BC Emergency Health Service, BC Coroner’s service and other emergency responders. Our managers are responsible for the safety of their team.

COMMUNICATIONS

BC, by its nature, has one thing in common; varying large, rugged and often remote terrain. Along with access issues detailed above, for a safe execution of a rescue, PENSAR has invested in a communications strategy to ensure communication with field teams including an established radio network with a repeater station on Apex Mountain, along with a transportable station to support safe rescue operations out of area where communications are limited.

TRACKING

Tracking is a very old and very useful technique for finding a lost person. It can vastly reduce the number of people and the amount of time it takes to find a lost person, but it is a skill that takes training and practice. PENSAR has a team of qualified trackers available or duty 24-7.

WILDERNESS MEDICINE

When an accident in the backcountry results in an injury, a medical response is necessary. Wilderness medicine, and wilderness first aid tools and training are required to stabilize a subject who is far from definitive medical care. PENSAR has a number volunteer paramedics and First Responder Trained personnel who can treat and transport subjects to the hospital.

Our medical equipment includes stretchers, backboard and other spinal or limb immobilization devices, (AED), Oxygen Therapy and standard first aid equipment. Backcountry accidents can be especially critical due to the time it can take to access the scene and stabilize the subject. PENSAR is equipped, trained and able to respond when these medical emergencies in the backcountry occur.