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Backcountry kept safer by supporting ground search-and-rescue groups

July 11, 2023 at 8:13 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

To ensure that the life-saving work of Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) groups and their volunteers are there when people need help in the backcountry, the Province is providing nearly $6 million in annual funding.

GSAR groups provide critical support to agencies, such as police and BC Emergency Health Services. This is the second year of this annual funding agreement between the Province and the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA), which is the only agreement of its kind in Canada. Prior to this agreement, the Province provided more than $33 million in grants to BCSARA over six years.

“B.C.’s search and rescue groups are made up of hard-working and dedicated volunteers who provide critical services to people in B.C.,” said Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness. “We’re proud to support search and rescue groups, including those helping with on-the-ground wildfire evacuations, by continuing to provide sustainable funding through this first-of-its-kind agreement.”

The Province provides funding to BCSARA, most of which is distributed to the 78 GSAR groups in B.C. This funding supports the GSAR groups’ life-saving rescue equipment, essential training, protective equipment for volunteers and administration costs, such as insurance.

“The sustainable funding provided by the Province is vital for GSAR groups across B.C.,” said Chris Mushumanski, president, BCSARA. “It funds important equipment, our programs, and supports the volunteers after tough calls with our critical incident stress-management team. We appreciate this important investment in public safety as the busy season for searches, rescues and delivering evacuation notices is well underway.”

This annual funding is in addition to incident-related funding the Province provides each year to cover operational search-and-rescue costs associated with rescues and training deployments, which amounted to $7.85 million in 2021-2022.

This funding also supports key administrative and operational activities, including the outdoor education program AdventureSmart and mental-health supports for volunteers.

Quick Facts:

  • GSAR support is requested through the Province by agencies, including police and BC Emergency Health Services, more than 1,500 times per year in B.C.
  • More than 3,000 GSAR volunteers are registered with the Province.

Learn More:

For information about BC Search and Rescue Association, visit: https://bcsara.com/

For information about AdventureSmart, visit: https://www.adventuresmart.ca/

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BCAdvSmart

Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/BCAdvSmart/?hl=en

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bcadvsmart?lang=en

For tips on seasonal readiness, how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit PreparedBC: http://preparedbc.ca

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PreparedBC/

Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PreparedBC

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