Search & Rescue

Mission Search & Rescue’s Team is made up of dedicated men and women who provide

  • Assistance to the RCMP and other policing agencies and the BC Ambulance Service in the search and rescue of missing and injured persons.
  • Assistance to municipal fire departments in the rescue of trapped or injured persons.
  • Assistance to the RCMP and other policing agencies and the Provincial Coroner’s Services in body recovery operations.
  • Assistance to Municipal, Provincial, and Federal agencies in search, rescue, communications, and other aid during civil emergencies and/or natural disasters.
  • Provide mutual aid assistance to neighboring Search and Rescue Teams.
  • Promote leadership in outdoor education with emphasis on safety, first aid, search and rescue techniques and other facets of wilderness survival.

Although Mission Search and Rescue is comprised of volunteers, the life saving service provided by the team requires that the standards of Unpaid Professionals be maintained when assisting Municipal, Provincial and Federal agencies.

Mission Search and Rescue is a registered charitable non-profit society, and is administered by elected Executive Officers for the overall operation of team affairs. These include budgeting, management of accounts, equipment, fundraising, training and other key activities.

Mission Search and Rescue takes pride in offering an essential community service and, in addition to it’s search and rescue activities, participates regularly in a number of community events.

The team also presents public information and education programs throughout the year to schools, youth organizations and other interested groups.

Mission Search and Rescue team consists of approximately 25 active members.  Not everyone goes into the field during an incident.  There are search managers, communications people, media and public relations people and some members that are involved solely in community events and public education.  The team capabilities are as follows:

Ground SAR 25 Justice Institute of B.C.
Ground SAR  Team Leader 4 Justice Institute of B.C.
Ground SAR Instructor 3 Justice Institute of B.C.
SAR Manager 3 Justice Institute of B.C.
Rope Rescue Team Member 4 Justice Institute of B.C.
Rope Rescue Team Leader 1 Justice Institute of B.C.
Swiftwater Safety Operations 5 Rescue Canada
Swiftwater Rescue Operations 2 Rescue Canada
Track Aware 3 PEP
First Aid Level 1 19 WCB
First Aid Level 2 3 WCB
First Aid Level 3 4 WCB
Power Squadron 1 Canadian Power &Sail Squadron

Initial Training:

If you are accepted to the class, you are expected to maintain a 100 % attendance during this time.

Students are required to complete the Ground Search and Rescue Course (GSAR), which are taught “in house” by certified instructors. The GSAR course is a minimum of 100 hours and covers the following:

  • Outlining SAR in BC
  • Initializing a search
  • Search in progression
  • Search termination
  • Maps
  • Compass
  • Survival skills (Overnight needed to pass course)
  • Communications
  • Ropes
  • Tracking
  • Helicopter safety
  • Avalanche orientation
  • Evacuation
  • Initial response
  • Search types (Sweep, Grid, Shoreline)

Upon successful completion of the GSAR course and acceptance on to the team, students become Members in Training (MIT’s) and will go through a probationary period of 1 year.

How much time does it take up?

LOTS!   Each member can spend literally hundreds of hours a year on team activities.  Training is two Thursday nights, plus two Saturdays or Sundays a month.  Plus special courses, for example a wilderness fist aid course.  Plus other activities like fundraising or educating. And finally the search and rescue calls!  It all consumes a LOT of the members ‘once free’ time!!  Still interested?

How often is the team called out?

In the past we’ve had as many as 45 calls in a year. That averages almost one a week!  Although the calls are concentrated more in the warmer months, we’re busy all year round. During the summer we mostly look for missing or injured hikers, tend to water mishaps, and during the winter it’s often off road enthusiasts and hikers.  Take a look at our callout statistics.

The commitment

This point cannot be emphasized enough.  The team will consume a very large portion of your free time.  There is a minimum of four training days per month.  Other requirements are participation in public education and fundraising.

Think about it. How much time can you afford to give up?  What other hobbies and interests do you have? Remember – this team will consume literally hundreds of hours of your time every year. And because of the time committed to you as students and trainees, we require a minimum three-year commitment to the team.  As an MIT, your participation in training and operational tasks will be monitored and if attendance falls below set standards, your membership status will be reviewed.

Where does the money come from for all this?

There is some government funding at covers the team’s expenses incurred during a search or rescue incident.  There is a significant expense for equipment such as ropes, climbing hardware, stretchers, swift water and other rescue equipment.  These funds are raised by the team members through donations, fund raising events and applications for funding grants.  Fundraising is a constant activity on a search and rescue team.

Are we paid?

NO!  We are Volunteers – Unpaid Professionals and we are required to maintain the standards of unpaid professionals in assisting municipal and provincial agencies.

Skills and Equipment Requirements

VALID first Aid certificate and/or medical background.  Must be physically fit, have a familiarity with the local area, have adequate personal equipment that will allow you to operate safely and effectively in all types of weather for at least 24-hour period.  Applicants should already have experience in a variety of outdoor situations.  For example: hiking, climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and experience in water activities.   So it is also assumed that applicants will already own the appropriate outdoor equipment, such as backpacks, sleeping bag, boots, clothing and so forth. Team members must be able to travel through a mountain environment in any weather for extended periods of time, and the personal equipment required.  The majority of equipment required is normal outdoor gear, and must already be owned or applicants must be willing to purchased good quality gear. It’s possible for this cost $1,000-$1,500.

Knowledge of and experience in the local parks and mountains are critical for membership.  You must have a home and employment situation that will allow full participation in training and search and rescue operation and other activities of the team, this includes the full support of your family and employer – remember how much time it’s going to take up!

You must live in Mission. Over and above these outdoor skills and requirements, you must have a desire and commitment to this type of community service, and be able to work extremely well in a team environment.  Often your life may be in team members’ hands and you need to work well together.

What area do we cover?

Mission Search and Rescue’s area is that of the Mission RCMP. The west boundary is Wilson Rd in Ruskin, the east boundary is the Harrison River, and the south boundary is the Fraser River. To the north, our area includes Stave Lake and beyond.

What is the process of becoming a member?

  • Application with Police background check
  • Information session followed with a weekend overnight hike
  • Interview
  • Final selection for course

Please fill out application form completely and mail your application to: Mission Search & Rescue Society, PO Box 2003 RPO Stn Mission Hills, Mission B.C.  V2V 7P8.You may also fax your application to (604) 826-9726, but it also must be mailed to the above mentioned address.