Foothills Search and Rescue (FSAR) have been in operation since 1993 and their Command Post is an old army recruiting unit that is over thirty years old. The unit frequently breaks down and has caused the organization some major headaches in recent years, actually having to be towed back from one operation. Two members of the team work full-time to keep the Centre running, Don Ward and Don Cottrel. “These two guys have been a blessing,” said George Woof , FSAR Fund-raising Director.
Pat Stier, MLA for Livingstone-Macleod, was very happy to be able to present the group with $70,000 from the Alberta Government to help towards raising the $270 – 300,000 needed for the new Command Centre.
Pat recalled times when ten years ago he was on Council, Foothills Search and Rescue were called in to help out with emergency situations, “They are a very important service to our community.” Grant applications are forwarded to his office and then he sends a recommendation to the Ministry.
Search and Rescue teams are under the arm of the Fire Department but receive no ongoing funding from the Government, apart from grants. They rely solely on donations and the local service groups have been instrumental in supporting them.
The Command Unit is like an ambulance but with much more sophisticated equipment on board to enable the teams to find missing people. Computers and maps are just some of the built-ins. The new unit will have new equipment inside as the current computers are also really old.
Dave Culbert, FSAR President gave a few statistics on the organization: currently have 65 active members who have contributed over 18,000 volunteer hours; last year they attended 18 missions; they have special units – equine, boat, quad, rope, ground search and they have recently been approved with the first drone in Alberta to be used in search and rescue missions. All members, and horses, have to be certified every year.
Members also visit schools and organizations to educate people on what to do if they find they are lost.
All missions are activated by the RCMP who are the ones to call in FSAR. They also assist in evidence searches for RCMP – a recent one helped to solve a twelve-year-old murder.
FSAR are always looking for new members and you can find more information on their website at http://foothillssearchandrescue.com/about-foothills-search-and-rescue/
Join them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2402693288/