The Sparwood Search and Rescue group was hosted by Kimberley last week for a practice run near Hellroaring Creek that found the limitations in some of the team’s equipment.
According to Kimberley’s avalanche response team leader Peter Reid, during the practice a Snow Ranger’s limitations came to a head when the team blew a belt and broke a cable three times on the transport and required a tow on the remainder of the slope.
“These are great things to happen in practice, but not on a call,” said Reid. “But the great thing is now that we know the limitations, we can address them so that when we’re on a call they don’t become a problem.”
Between Sparwood and Kimberley, the two Search and Rescue teams try to practice together on a quarterly basis.
— Submitted by Y. Kehrlein
“For us, winter was important to get together because we wanted to look at the capabilities of the teams,” said Reid. “We wanted to see how good each team is at travelling in the snow and how our equipment works.”
Reid added that the importance of these practices is due to the fact that Search and Rescue teams often get called up on cases together.
“Because of the size of most of the teams we generally respond together,” explained Reid. “In some cases, teams from Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley and Golden have teamed up on one call. Because we often respond together, it’s a good idea to practice together.”
Reid described the Hellroaring Creek region as a “high-hazard avalanche area”, as Search and Rescue have breached that area during past incidents of two fatalities, a recovery and a rescue.
The next joint practice for Kimberley and Sparwood will be in Sparwood sometime in February where the teams will experiment with getting a Sno-Cat into precarious areas of Sparwood.