Campbell River Search and Rescue (CRSAR) will be staging a large training exercise in the vicinity of Elk Falls and the new suspension bridge Saturday, July 25.
Members will be lowered to the bottom of the canyon, some 60 metres below the bridge, and will make their way downstream where they will either hike out, be raised by rope systems, or possibly lifted out by a helicopter long-line system.
This is a rare opportunity, both for the SAR group to train in a spectacular and potentially dangerous area, and for the public to witness the group in action.
“We really like to stay in the public eye, for a number of reasons,” said Tim Fairbank, president of CRSAR. “This is just the best opportunity for them to see just what it is we do. Otherwise it’s hard to get public into a suitable viewing spot for us going over cliffs and into whitewater.”
Fairbank hopes the public access will help remind people there is an active, local SAR chapter, and remember that when they’re in a position to make a donation or in need of help in a search or rescue situation.
“911 is the call to make,” said Fairbank. “But it’s still important for the public to know we’re here when they need us.”
Typically, the exercise could also work as a recruting tool. But CRSAR has stabilized its enrolment and is not planning another recruitment/training program until fall of 2016.
“We’ve had two good years that have brought our numbers up to a comfortable level,” Fairbank said.
During the July 25 exercise, SAR members will also be in prominent areas to keep the public informed of what is happening, and to answer questions. Training in various disciplines will take place, including rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, communications, public relations, and logistics. The helicopter portion of the training cannot be confirmed until the last day or two, subject to machine availability.
While the public is encouraged to come out, meet CRSAR members and see the activities, they are also reminded to stay on the designated trails and obey all signs. SAR members will be on site from around 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with most of the action taking place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
More information on search and rescue can be found at www.crsar.ca.
Information about Elk Falls Provincial Park can be found online at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/elk_falls.