FILE – Two specially trained members of the Chilliwack SAR team arrive on solid ground with the pair of climbers from Mt. Slesse. (Chilliwack SAR/Tony)

B.C. search and rescue groups responded to 700 calls in first half of 2020

Province announces annual funding as part of Budget 2020

It’s been a quiet year for travel so far, but that hasn’t stopped hundreds of British Columbians from getting lost or injured while out in the wilderness – sparking concerns by government officials and search and rescue volunteers.

Since January, ground search and rescue volunteers have responded to more than 700 calls throughout the province, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said during a funding announcement on Tuesday (July 21).

“Search and rescue volunteers take a risk every time they go out to rescue someone, and that risk is heightened due to COVID-19,” he said.

“I’m calling on all British Columbians to be safe and to make sure your family, friends and neighbours are being safe, so we can reduce the risks for everyone.”

READ MORE: B.C. sees spike in search and rescue calls ahead of COVID-19 restrictions easing

Farnworth announced that the province would be pledging $6 million annually for the 79 search and rescue teams in the province, beginning in 2022.

The new funding promise comes one year after the NDP government provided $18.6-million to the volunteer groups, marking the largest search and rescue funding in B.C.’s history.

The new funding is part of Budget 2020.

British Columbians are being asked to stay close to home when exploring the outdoors, staying on marked trails and maintaining physical distancing. Officials are urging people to pack appropriately – including adequate clothing for weather changes, as well as other provisions.

“When going into the outdoors, be prepared to take care of yourself and your family,” safety ministry said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Search and Rescue

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Postcards from kids in Aldergrove to uplift isolated seniors amidst COVID

United Way launched Intergenerational Postcard Club in August, matching up kids with older pen pals

Slo-pitch league to resume play

Township approves resumption, with restrictions, league president says

Langley invited to pedal kart race to raise funds for Madison Place families after fire

Langley businesses partner up with SouthRidge church for the three-weekend pedal go-kart fundraiser

No exodus of teachers during COVID year

Retirements are actually down for Langley’s school-based staff

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Man wanted for ramming police car and almost hitting bystanders in Abbotsford

Police say Lorne Guilbault ‘engages in high-risk criminal driving behaviour’

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Most Read