Saskatchewan. search and rescue teams participate in training scenarios

A multi-jurisdictional exercise brought together search and rescue teams from across the province to simulate real-life disasters and practice communication skills this weekend at Good Spirit Lake.

“You learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Also, if we do a field search, you know your teammates,” said Dustin Brears, chair of the multi-jurisdictional search exercise.

The RCMP, local fire departments, Saskatchewan Public Safety, Saskatchewan Search and Rescue Volunteer Association (SARSAV) and Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) worked together on several different scenarios.

The mobile command center was located at base camp, which was the heart of the operation. All communications passed through the center and it was there that the teams received instructions and reported their findings.

In one case, teams searched for a pylon, which signaled that there was damage within a 200 meter radius.

A team stumbled upon a Boy Scout camp with nine victims.

Sarah Latimer, 14, had a fake back injury and a black eye.

“It’s reassuring to know that if you were really in an emergency, there would be plenty of people to help you and make sure you’re okay,” she said.

Another team had to give birth in the field.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Public Safety searched the water in an inflatable boat. The team came across a “body” in the water.

The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) was an eye in the sky.

“From the ground, you look up, you can see an aircraft. From the aircraft looking down, it can be quite difficult. This is where the training comes into play, with the search patterns targeted to know what to look for, how to look for it,” said CASARA member Greg Ottenbreit.

The team looked for anything out of the ordinary and searched for common routes. The more information the better, so the key was to be descriptive and to communicate. The members pointed out anything that caught their attention and confirmed it with the others on the plane.

The coordinates were then reported back to the command center, where he deployed a ground crew to get a closer look.

Each team had a unique skill that was used with communication and teamwork.

Brandon D. James