New society focuses on safety

The society at their first meeting in November. Photo SPIN.

Sun Peaks is an active rural community— a combination that amounts to a lot of adventure and fun but can also be risky.

That risk is managed as much as possible but mistakes and accidents still happen. When they do the community is fortunate to have support from ski patrol, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue (SPFR) and in some cases Kamloops Search and Rescue.

But injuries aren’t restricted to the mountain or to where responses are simple. That’s why Chris Mark believes more community members should have the opportunity to access first aid and emergency response training and equipment. Mark formed the Sun Peaks Mountain Rescue Society (SPMRS), a non-profit organization with big goals of making the community safer, this fall.

“We’ve got one of the longest response times (from B.C. Ambulance Service),” he said.

“And a lot of mechanism for people to hurt themselves…if more people are trained, it’s better.”

Mark, who is entering his second year as a ski patroller for Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), said the idea was first raised in August and they will be operational for the 2017-18 ski season.

He said while SPR and SPFR supply equipment necessary for their own members, costs can be high for extra additional items that give responders more experience.

Those are the items SPMRS would like to focus on first. Training aids such as model limbs that realistically depict open fractures or wounds, or dolls that take manmade airways and show if a responder’s breaths are effective during artificial respiration.

Mark said he wants the society to be sustainable and provide more to the community as it grows. After purchasing equipment for use he would like to host classes open to anyone and allow supervised use of the equipment.

“It will be extras we know would help everyone,” Mark said. “More people can get their hands on it.”

Fundraising will begin this December with members planning to hold a raffle on New Year’s Eve. Mark said he hopes they will also have an event in February to tie into the Winter Olympics and other social events that support the society.

T-Shirts will soon be available in SPR retail outlets with 90 per cent of sales going back to the charity.

SPMRS is welcoming new members at anytime.

“Anyone who’s passionate about supporting the jobs first responders do,” Mark said of who they are looking for. “Members of the community who are passionate about first aid.”

For more information or to contact the society find them online at facebook.com/spmountainrescue.

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