Ongoing Search and Rescue training is an important part of the commitment that Alberni Valley Rescue Squad (AVRS) members make when they join the group. AVRS hosts ongoing informal Ground Search and Rescue training as well as specialized team training in swiftwater rescue, high rope rescue, tracking, boat operations and ATV operations. In order to keep a high level of operational readiness, each AVRS member is asked to commit to as many training hours as is manageable for the member each week.
General training occurs on three Wednesday evenings per month (the fourth Wednesday is a formal AVRS society meeting) with more in-depth training sessions occurring several weekends per year. Training sessions generally take place from 1900-2130 and focus on a wide variety of Ground Search and Rescue skills.
Each AVRS volunteer must take the SAR 100 (Ground Search and Rescue) course prior to becoming a formal member of the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad or taking advanced training in a specialized area of Search and Rescue.
The Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) course is the entry level standard for ground and inland water search and rescue in the province of British Columbia. It presents an overview of SAR in BC and includes theoretical and practical instruction in the following areas:
- Ground search and rescue tactics
- Wilderness navigation
- Survival skills
- Introduction to rope management
- Introduction to tracking
- Introduction to helicopter safety
- Shoreline searching safely
- Wilderness evacuation
- Introduction to avalanche safety
The SAR100 course is intended for AVRS volunteers who wish to be active members of Ground Search and Rescue operations and is taught by certified GSAR instructors at various locations throughout the Alberni Valley. The intensive four month course consists of classroom instruction, practical field applications, and an overnight stay utilizing minimal equipment. Class curriculum focuses on the structure of SAR in BC, functions of a SAR team and building the skills used in basic GSAR. Field days consist of scenarios providing an opportunity for candidates to practice skills learned in the classroom and demonstrate their proficiency working as part of a team in a simulated response environment.
The overnight stay is designed to test students’ ability to cope with an unexpected 24 hour stay in the wilderness.
SAR 100 evaluations are comprised of level of attendance-participation, written module tests, a final written exam, and completion of the overnight practical exam. Students are expected to attend instructional sessions, complete course module written exams and complete practical evaluations to the required level of satisfaction.
The AVRS has a long and proud history of volunteerism in the Alberni Valley and surrounding area. Our volunteers fill a variety of roles and many choose to volunteer, train and contribute to AVRS in many of the important non-search roles in the organization such as:
- Public Education
- Group Training and Education
- Radio operations and Communications
- AVRS Finances
- Equipment Maintenance
- Vehicle Maintenance
- Fund raising
- Technology support
- Field Logistics (cooking, group transport, purchasing)
There is a support area for everyone within the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad! If you are interested in SAR training and would like to commit to becoming a part of AVRS, please contact us today!