Search and rescue calls up

Must Read

RCMP looking for Susanne Rotmeyer

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. - The Fort St. John RCMP are trying to locate Susanne Rotmeyer to...

Wilkinson aims to be B.C. premier after cabinet role, working as doctor and lawyer

VANCOUVER — Former cabinet colleague Bill Bennett warns anyone verbally sparring with B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to be...

A QuickSketch of British Columbia Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson

A sketch of Andrew Wilkinson, leader of British Columbia's Liberal party:  Age: 63.   Family: Married to Barbara Grantham. They have...
Tom Summer Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism. Tom Summer works under the Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John. The content that is produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

Search and rescue calls are up this year in the North Peace as the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed residents to explore areas off the beaten path this summer.

North Peace search and rescue volunteers have seen 25 calls so far this year, above their average of 18 to 23. 

“We’re seeing an increase in numbers throughout the whole province,” says North Peace SAR President Brian Lamond. “I think a lot of it is COVID-19 and the staycations that everyone is doing at home. They’re normally used to going to their favourite place, but not being able to. Some parks were closed, so they’re dabbling in areas they’re not used to being.”

- Advertisement -

Sixteen North Peace members were called out to Carbon Lake in Hudson’s Hope on Aug. 27 for two overdue fishermen. The team stood down en route, after it was confirmed the pair were fine — they had simply lost track of time and failed to update family friends on their whereabouts.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, members were called out to help find two missing hunters in the Toad River area. Five members started making the seven-hour trek north, but stood down after it was confirmed both hunters had been found. One was taken to Fort Nelson Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Lamond says the ideal is to have zero calls a year, but B.C. is known for having the highest call volumes across the country.

“We’re the most rugged province from top to bottom that there is,” he said. “We have a lot of people who recreate in the outdoors; we enjoy our province and are proud of British Columbia.”

He added North Peace SAR is planning to restart its AdventureSmart program later this month, which was put on hiatus due to the pandemic.

The program teaches individuals how to plan a destination, travel route, equipment, and expected return time; crucial information for volunteers with search and rescue. Sessions have previously been held for schools and interested organizations.

“We’re just getting into it now, and starting to do some virtual stuff, and trying to figure out some better ways to contact these people and give them some better skill sets to be able to be out there,” said Lamond.


“We’ve just been given the go ahead to do face-to-face presentations with proper precautions, and so we’re working on a strategy right now. Typically our biggest clients are the school programs,” said Lamond.

Adventure Smart is delivered nationwide, sponsored by Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada. There have been more than 11,600 participants who have gone through the program since its creation in 2004.

Email reporter Tom Summer at

- Advertisement -

Community Interviews with Moose FM

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest news delivered to your mailbox every morning.

More Articles Like This