The BC Search and Rescue Association has released a series of videos stressing a key point about the organization: it doesn’t charge for searches.
The association says it often hears rumours to the contrary and wants to dispel the myth, because it might put lives at risk.
It was a worry-filled day when Natalka Strileski called on Nanaimo Search and Rescue in 2019. Her husband, who was suffering from dementia, walked away from a family party in Lantzville and did not return.
But she said search and rescue volunteers responded immediately and were on the ground searching within an hour, helping calm her fears.
“They were very respectful. They were giving us hope and positive and basically positive feedback about how they can usually find them,” said Strileski.
The BC Search and Rescue Association says that’s exactly what it wants people to do if they or a loved one is missing.
“Don’t hesitate to call if you think you’re in trouble. Don’t wait a couple of hours because that just makes things worse. Darkness falls and it makes it much more difficult,” said Dwight Yochim, BC Search and Rescue Association’s senior manager.
The association posted seven videos to its social media platforms Thursday stressing that point.
The videos thoroughly explain why crews don’t ever charge for searches and rescues.
“We’ve been struggling with that messaging for quite a while and I think if you talk to any SAR manager across the province they’ve come across someone who’s delayed a search because they thought the misconception that they would be charged for the search and the rescue,” said Yochim.
In Strileski’s case, searchers found her husband the next day walking through a wooded area after a night outdoors.
She says she’s forever grateful for being able to spend another year with Wayne before he passed away on Sept. 8 2020.
“I can’t say enough about them. They were tremendous,” said Strileski.
The association says if you are going into the great outdoors be prepared and log your itinerary in the AdventureSmart Trip plan app. If something does go sideways during your trip, it will be that much easier for search and rescue to know where to start.