British Columbia’s ground search and rescue (GSAR) groups have just wrapped up the busiest year in their history.
Between April 2020 and April 2021, SAR groups in province were deployed 1,959 times, a nearly 25% increase when compared to callouts in previous years.
Prior to this, the SAR groups attended an average of roughly 1,500 responses annually – more than the rest of Canada combined.
“BC’s 79 GSAR groups have been pushed to limits,” said Chris Kelly, president, BC Search and Rescue Association.
“COVID-19 has made risky work even more dangerous for each individual. I implore anyone heading out into the elements to do their part by planning ahead.
“Make sure you’re prepared for where you’re going – have a plan, have the right gear, know how to use it and take the training.”
It is important to prepare for the unexpected when heading outdoors, regardless of weather. While spring begins to arrive in some of B.C.’s valleys, winter conditions persist in the alpine, he added.
There were ten avalanche fatalities in BC in the last year.