Saskatoon Search and Rescue is made up of 40 search-ready members, supported by a growing group of support members who assist with logistics, administration and planning.
Our Mission: "To locate lost or missing persons and provide support to our community in non-search emergencies under the direction of the Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization, Saskatoon Police Service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or other agency of jurisdiction."
In 2019, we honed our skills, processes and practices with the goal of improving efficiencies. This report highlights our 2019 efficiency initiatives.
Project Lifesaver is designed to quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the potentially life-threatening behaviour of wandering.
A participant in the Project Lifesaver program wears a wristband that emits an individualized radio-frequency signal.
If a participant wanders, SSAR members who are trained as Electronic Search Specialists enter the frequency into a receiver and can use the signal to search for and locate the missing person.
Project Lifesaver searches frequently begin in vehicles with omnidirectional antennas.
Enabling members to use the antennas and safely monitor for signals on their way to the search site, and be in contact with the rest of the team via radio, has proven to successfully reduce search time by quickly narrowing down the initial search area.
Project Lifesaver client numbers went from 28 at the start of the year, to a high of 42 by year-end. Some clients leave the program due to declining health or moving to more secure facilities.
22 adults and 20 children are currently registered as Project Lifesaver clients and wear transmitter bracelets.
These fun and less formal mini-sessions supplemented regular training days and focused on communications, navigation, electronic searching and first aid.
Other training included Near Water Search training, particularly for new members who were just completing their first year.
Several new members also took the Team Leader course and several veteran members re-certified as Team Leaders.
Six SSAR members wrote their ROC-A exam (Restricted Operator’s Certificate – Aeronautical)
Several members attended Incident Command System training, Levels 200 and 300, offered by Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization, and one member assisted with instructing the RCMP searcher course.
More members were trained as Project Lifesaver Electronic Search Specialists.
We continue to build on our strong relationship with the Saskatoon Police Service, training with them and demonstrating the capabilities of our SAR dog team, Kate and Jenga.
In addition to on-going search training, Kate and Jenga successfully completed their Disaster Live Find Certification.
Learning how to set up a landing zone for STARS or other aircraft is another great way to work with and get to know other emergency response agencies.
Our members attend yearly Multi-Jurisdictional Search Exercises (MJSEs) and train with Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) teams and agencies having jurisdiction from across the province.
Four SSAR members shared ideas with other SAR organizations at the national Search and Rescue conference in Rocky Mountain House in September.
We attended several events and provided information to the public about SSAR, AdventureSmart programs and Project Lifesaver.
Our Preventative SAR program is designed to educate and inform, preventing the need for search and rescue operations.
This year presenters went to Weyburn and North Battleford for SAR Awareness Training with high school students enrolled in the Emergency Services Response Training (ESRT).
Other community outreach efforts included members meeting with Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark to update him on SSAR’s capabilities.
15 members attended the City of Saskatoon’s Remembrance Day ceremony in SSAR uniforms or as representatives of other agencies.
Our social media following has grown to more than 2300 on Facebook and more than 1500 on Twitter. Your encouraging words, your likes and shares help to spread the word about what we do.
In April, Saskatoon Search and Rescue members were featured as "Heroes of the Game" at a Saskatchewan Rush game.
"The YMCA Peace Medal is used across Canada during Peace Week to recognize the achievements of individuals or groups who, without any special resources, demonstrate in their lives and activities the values expressed by PEACE (Participation, Empathy, Advocacy, Community, Empowerment) and serve as models of what all of us are capable of achieving if we choose."
SSAR members volunteered more the 6400 hours for the betterment and safety of our community.
In addition to the time spent training and on activations, SSAR members spent more than 2100 administrative hours ensuring the smooth operation of our organization.
This includes fundraising activities, executive and committee meetings, maintaining equipment and much more.
Several of our members are also involved in SAR at provincial and national levels, as board and/or committee members of SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) and SARVAC (Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada).
Through SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers), we introduced new data management software designed specifically for emergency management and rescue organizations.
Once fully implemented, Volunteer Rescue will simplify administrative tasks and serve as a remotely accessible hub for member and equipment information.
Fundraising is vital to our organization so we are always looking for grants and honorarium opportunities. The Rotary clubs generously provide an honorarium in return for setup and takedown at their Lobsterfest and Ribfest events.
We appreciate the support we get for providing first aid services at public events such as the Meewasin skate parties...
...and the honorariums we receive from EcoFriendly Sask for riverbank cleanups.
Public awareness and promotion of our organization is vital to fundraising, recruiting and fulfilling our mandate of preventative search and rescue education.
We are grateful to all those who help get our message out.
100 Women Who Care
100 Men Who Give A Damn
Proceeds from the Saskatoon International Airport Fire Department's annual charity barbecue
Saskatoon Co-op for providing gift cards used to purchase water, juice and food for activations.
SAR dog Jenga got a GPS collar thanks to a gift from Federated Cooperatives Ltd.
SaskTel and TelCare made a donation that enabled us to purchase an additional receiver for the Project Lifesaver program.
Other donors and donations include:
- Interstate Batteries of Saskatchewan provided a 1 year supply of batteries
- Prairie Malt donated roadside kits
- Brightsource donated a light bar for the truck
- Several personal donations, including an $800 Esso fuel card from an anonymous donor
For the second year, we sold out our screening of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Join us for the third annual show on April 20, 2020, at the Broadway Theatre.
Thanks to our Matching Sponsors: The North Face Saskatoon Store owned & operated by The Prairie Summit Shop, and Outter Limits, who matched up to $1000 in audience donations.
- Thanks also to our Supporting Sponsors: •Back40 Wilderness First Aid Training •Maduro Coffee Company •Bruce's Cycle Works •Lardners Trailer Sales •Koncept Sign Group •Saskatoon Animal Control Agency •SaskEnergy •Eb's Source for Adventure •Brainsport •Grace Beyer, Re/Max •Martensville Veterinary Hospital •Mini Fridge Theatre •Alpine Club of Canada - Saskatchewan Section
And to all those who made private donations - THANK YOU!