Fernie SAR team is dedicated to helping the community – The Free Press

When someone needs help in the backcountry or elsewhere in Fernie, the Search and Rescue (SAR) team is there.

On the outside it can seem like they appear out of nowhere as superheroes when in reality there is a lot to be done in order to be a part of the SAR.

Simon Piney, chief of Fernie SAR, said that currently the SAR is made up of 30 volunteers, some of whom work professionally to help people, whether as paramedics, firefighters, mountain guides or ski patrollers. to name a few.

“On their days off, they go out and help. Some of them will go out all night for a search and then head to work in the morning. Some of them will work all day and come to train in the evening, ”he said.

“They are pretty amazing people.”

Piney said that due to the area that makes up Fernie, the group must master various rescue techniques and procedures.

“In winter it’s steep slopes, snow and avalanches,” he said.

“We have rivers, we have steep mountains which means we need rope rescue skills, we have white water on the river, we have helicopter longlines when the going is really tough in terms of ground. “

To make sure the team of volunteers always knows how to react, they regularly attend training and maintain professional certifications, which Piney said they dedicate their time to.

“Although we are volunteers, there is no volunteer version of the credentials required to participate in these technical rescue disciplines,” said Piney.

Something he said they should always keep in mind during any call is that they should always remain calm and not rush a rescue for the benefit and safety of not only the victim, but also of the team.

“While we are dealing with something that may be someone’s worst day of life, it’s not our urgency, we’re here to make it better,” Piney said.

“The slower we slow down and the more coordinated and timely we apply the skills we have, the better the outcome for them. “

Sometimes SAR can’t help someone and Piney said it can be very hard for them.

“Everyone who works in search and rescue in British Columbia, and there are 80 groups across the province, has access to something called critical incident stress management,” said Piney.

“The two things I’ve found that always work the best for me in this group are talking to the people you were rescuing with… the second is to go out and do something different.”

As for anyone who wants to join Fernie SAR, Piney said the easiest way is to go to their website to review the process, although they can’t deal with everyone.

“We’ll take a handful of people every year or two,” he said.

“For those who join us, they then spend a year as an intern during which they will be exposed to everything we do, they will be trained, they will receive what is called a ground search and rescue technician certificate… and in the end, if they are successful, they will become a full member of the group.


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