Elkford SAR's mobile command centre. (Image contributed by Elkford SAR)

Elkford SAR has quiet year

Those recreating in backcountry are encouraged to be prepared

It was a quiet year for the volunteers of Elkford Search and Rescue, with team manager, Marianne Stone saying they only had three call-outs for all of 2020.

“It’s happened before, but we usually have more,” she said.

Of the three, one was a helicopter extraction in the Elk Lakes area, while of the other two, one was passed off to another SAR’s due to easier access and the other was a mutual aid call.

Stone said that COVID-19 had made training and ups-killing difficult for the year, but Elkford SAR was ready for call-outs anyway.

Over the year, Elkford SAR upgraded their radios and uniforms, and got their mobile command centre all set up and ready to go.

Stone also said that they had had a successful recruiting year, with Elkford SAR now boasting 25 members.

The SAR had been on the lookout for admin help, but ran into the same issues they always did when looking for new members – eagerness to get out on rescues themselves.

“We ran a post on Facebook back in August looking for some admin help only because the paperwork end is so intensive for one or two people.

“I did get some help there,but most of the people after we interviewed them they wanted to be on the team not on the admin … so that was interesting.”

Stone said that Elkford SAR was looking ahead to the winter season now upon us.

“This year is going to be interesting over the winter months because we have high avalanche warnings right now. We just got 2.5 feet of snow in Elkford.”

Stone said that safety was paramount, advising that those recreating in backcountry be ready for the conditions.

“(They should) have the equipment that they need, check every resource there is, know their terrain, and look before they go.

“I watched in town just yesterday three snowmobiles stuck on the trail systems. The snowmobiles sunk into the snow, Its even worse in the alpine. People need to have the equipment, they need to know where their going, have the experience, and make sure they’re equipped with the right stuff.”

READ MORE: 2020 RDEK Electoral Area Volunteers of the Year.

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