About the Columbia Valley Search and Rescue Society
“Columbia Valley Search and Rescue maintains proficient, equipped and capable response teams for ground search, swift water rescue, rope rescue, mountain rescue, avalanche rescue and search dogs with their handlers.”
Columbia Valley Search and Rescue (“CVSAR”) maintains a response capability for ground and inland water search and rescue, swiftwater rescue, organized avalanche response, rope rescue, and mountain rescue with operations on the traditional territory of the Shuswap and Ktunaxa people. Members are volunteers from all backgrounds, including the general public, firefighters, paramedics, mountain guides, recreationalists, and even a search dog handler.
The team and its equipment are based in Windermere, co-located with the Emergency Operations Center adjacent to the Windermere Fire Hall. SAR members respond to emergencies from all over the Columbia Valley as far away as the Brisco area in the north, to Panorama and south beyond Canal Flats.
CVSAR is responsible for a significant portion of south eastern British Columbia, with a considerable diversity of terrain. The area is mountainous with steep walls of poor quality rock unsuitable for technical climbing. The numerous valleys are deep with fast flowing creeks and rivers along with some class 5 rapids.
The coverage area is approximately 10,000 square kilometers of diverse terrain in the East Kootenays – from Brisco to Canal Flats and the Purcell Mountains to the Rocky Mountains along the Alberta Border. This area is bordered by Golden & District SAR to the north, Kimberley SAR to the south, Kaslo SAR to the west, with Kananaskis Public Safety and the Parks Canada Visitor Safety Team to the east. CVSAR periodically assists other regional SAR groups with extended or complex search and rescue operations and regularly cross-trains with local emergency services, backcountry operators, and adventure outfitters.
A 3-year strategic plan was recently developed with the following areas of focus: governance, training, engagement from members and within the community, equipment, administration and finance, reputation, and a new home.