Search and rescue hunts for new home

KSAR sets up a previous search and rescue situation. | PHOTO SUpplied

Trucks, trailers, ATVs, UTVs, and snowmobiles pack the current home of Kamloops Search and Rescue (KSAR). It’s not just an annoyance, said president Alan Hobler, it delays the teams when dispatched to searches. The time lost while shuffling and searching for equipment is time that could mean life or death for someone lost or stuck.

“It has definitely slowed down our response,” Hobler said. “We need to pull out all of the trucks and equipment and get what we need instead of being able to take one
and go.”

The current space, supplied by the City of Kamloops, is around 2,000 square feet. Hobler estimated the group needs 6,000 to store equipment and complete training properly.
“We’re growing as a team. We have more specialized members and equipment which needs space.”

Another concern with the tight space is security. There’s so little room in the building that the group has been forced to store gear outside, a risky option after multiple B.C. search and rescue groups were victims of theft in recent years.

While security cameras surround the building, the risk of their important equipment being taken is still on the group’s mind.

“Our inventory is out in the open, we are definitely conscious of the risk,” said Hobler. “Buildings nearby have been broken into and ours has been cased.”

Owning a property would also save volunteers from having to move every few years. Hobler said they have been housed in various buildings and a permanent property of their own would add stability.

Hobler said the best solution would be to have their own land to build on, but costs can be prohibitive.

“We would be starting from scratch,” he said. “We do have access to grant funding that would help us but we need land and plans in place first.”

If land was donated, Hobler said he believes KSAR could arrange enough money to build a space through fundraising and grants and estimated around $1 million would be needed.

“We are hoping somebody would donate land, we don’t have a lot of money ourselves.”

So far this year KSAR has been called to Sun Peaks twice, In past years they have been instrumental in locating lost or injured skiers in the past. In the 2013-14 winter season KSAR responded to seven search and rescue calls at Sun Peaks. Last year they were called to three.

“Anything outside of ski area boundaries falls on search and rescue to respond.”

Each search can cost thousands of dollars. KSAR is completely dependent on volunteered time and donations from government, corporations and individuals.

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