‘Plan before you play’: B.C. search crews urge preparation ahead of May long weekend

‘Plan before you play’: B.C. search crews urge preparation ahead of May long weekend
BC Search and Rescue

Some people call it, “the first unofficial long weekend of summer,” and for a good reason.

The B.C. Search and Rescue Association is encouraging you to take extra precautions by preparing for your adventures ahead of the Victoria Day long weekend.

A sunny weekend and the extra day off gets people thinking of heading out for a day hike, camping, BBQing or possibly going on a kayak ride or spin on a boat, says the association, and there’s ways you can prepare for activities safely.

Expert Webinars

Ahead of the long weekend, BC AdventureSmart is offering a series of webinars for free.

The summer 2024 series will feature 10 special webinars and 13 expert guests to help you prep and become rescue ready, including the ‘Campers Code’ webinar on Thursday, May 16.

Adventure Hub

Outdoor recreation enthusiasts can also check out the Adventure Hub, which is a custom-built online planning platform with more than 450 outdoor recreation businesses and organizations that features 24 categories covering eight B.C. regions to help you plan your weekend adventures.

Visual Learning

Search and rescue teams also encourage people to take a moment and browse the B.C. Search and Rescue Associations’ YouTube channel and video library to help plan a safe hike.

These videos contain regional and trail-specific information on terrain, facilities, weather, hiking times and required skills, and highlight stats like where high search and rescue call volume regions are in B.C.

The 3,400 B.C. volunteer search and rescue members say it’s important to make informed decisions through these resources.

Prepping will help in search and rescue beginning with what you do before your adventures start andduring an emergency which can make or break the outcome of your outdoor experience.

“Most of our injured or lost subjects were just out for a day hike or just out for a quick climb or just picking mushrooms at their usual secret spot. If you find yourself ‘just’ doing a day trip this weekend, ask yourself what would happen if something went wrong. When hikers, campers, mountain bikers and all outdoor enthusiasts plan ahead, it helps all search and rescue volunteers too,” says Lauren Phillips, team leader, Prince George Search and Rescue.

BC SAR says there are about 1,750 search and rescue tasks per year and they’re hoping to keep SAR task numbers as low as possible and reduce the severity of injuries.

According to Victoria Clarke, coordinator and manager of Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, the majority of rescues that they respond to are lower leg injuries along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail.

“In 2023, this very challenging trail had the third highest number of rescues of any trail in the province,” Clarke said.

Story continues below

Juan De Fuca Trail.

SAR members recommend choosing hiking boots with a good grip and proper ankle support.

Hiking poles also provide additional stability especially when hiking with a backpack in rugged terrain.

In case of emergency, call 911, or, if  you’re using a satellite phone, call the Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-800-663-3456.

Do not wait 24 hours to report someone overdue or missing, searchers say.

SAR teams can only be activated by a requesting agency, such as police or Emergency Health Services. There is no charge for search and rescue in British Columbia.

Harry CorroHarry Corro

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!