Rossland Search and Rescue (SAR) met on July 27 to practice Rope Rescue on the steep rock faces of Ymir. SAR teams from South Columbia—which encompasses Trail, Montrose, Fruitvale and Salmo—and Nelson joined them for the day of training. As regional teams are often called out to the same incidents, effective teamwork is not just important within any individual team, but while working with other teams as well.
Ross Breakwell, Rossland and District SAR Training Officer and Rope Rescue Team Leader, organized the practice as an opportunity for newer volunteers to hone their skills. Many members took a swing at unfamiliar roles in the rescue operation to both improve their skills and gain a better understanding of Rope Rescue to better instruct other members in the future.
Adrian Huber from South Columbia SAR led one of the scenarios. Huber is in training to become a Rope Rescue team leader. A certain amount of practice hours is needed for his certification and those hours will naturally increase his knowledge and ability. As such, the more experienced team leaders appreciated his participation; highly skilled members are important for teams to be effective.
The regional teams were split into smaller groups and set at various stations to run the parts of the rescue system. The teams worked well together and a great deal of knowledge was shared between members. The secondary purpose of the joint practice was for teams to familiarize themselves with the other teams’ gear. During actual incidents, any team’s gear may be employed, so it’s important that everyone knows how to operate all of the gear properly. New tools were also introduced that made the rescue easier than in the past.
It was a hot day and after hours of hard work the sweaty teams cooled off in the Salmo River. During lunch, the teams practiced some fun bonding exercises to reinforce their partnerships. Rossland SAR and the other regional teams felt they are developing strong relationships with each other, and their rescues are becoming both faster and safer. All around, it was a very successful practice.