Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) has reorganised the running of the society, separating out the day-to-day operations and the functions of the board members.
Simon Piney, one of the Fernie search managers explains the rationale, “We had a couple of people leave the organization late last year, and it made us realize that we had too few people involved in the running of the organization.
“Fernie SAR’s reason for existence is to provide search and rescue services in the valley, supporting other agencies such as BCAS, Fernie Fire and the RCMP. At the same time, it is also a society with all that entails: Canada Revenue reporting, grant writing, reporting to the province on our tasks and looking into other services we can offer beyond our existing activities.
“We found we had got to a stage where it was always the same handful of people running rescues, attending rescues and doing all the financial and planning side and we decided that is not a healthy way to run things. We approached certain members of community to see if they were willing to act as board members. We are very
grateful that a number of people were immediately willing to help out.”
Simon Piney and Kat and Scott Robinson now run the day-to-day operations. All three have qualified recently as search managers, a role that is required by the province for a search group to be called out on a task. These three rotate the role of duty manager, carrying the 24-hour emergency call-out phone and initiating emergency responses. They also establish the needs of the society in terms of equipment and training, in discussion with the board, as
well as managing the daily finances and submitting proposals to the board.
A new board has been elected, comprising Dr Ron Clark, Dr Steve Gray, Brendan Morgan, Diane Souccar, Ed Gillespie and Marie-Ann Allan. The board members meet once a month with the SAR managers and discuss the needs of the society, review activities and identify areas that need attention with final decisions
taken by the Board.
The group has been busy this year, with 17 call-outs to date ranging from injured skiers and snowmobilers in the winter, medical emergencies and injured
hikers and bikers more recently.
The group remains interested in new volunteers, with people not only needed in the field but a shortage of people able to come and help
run operations from the base, dealing with the phones and radios.
Anyone interested in helping out should visit the Fernie Search and Rescue website and sign up, and they will then receive information on upcoming training and special events.