In Case of Emergency Call 911

Recruiting FAQ's

We accept only enthusiastic people who are willing to commit to regular training and committee meeting, plus events and searches. A search is an emergency and can happen at any time. Our volunteers need to be ready to be deployed into the field at a moment's notice.

Vernon Search and Rescue has a minimum requirement of 19 years old, however there can be some exceptions to this.

Every person will give you a different answer. Generally, we get a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing we played a role in saving a life, bringing closure to a grieving family, assisting someone in need of help. Many members will tell you after their first year that the experience was far greater than they ever expected. SAR is the kind of activity where the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

Our coverage area covers the entire North Okanagan region . At times, we will be called to provide mutual aid to other neighbouring SAR units such as Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, etc.
Vernon SAR is considered one of the “anchor” units in the Province of BC and has a full suite of ground rescue capabilities. As such, its rescue personnel are often requested to assist other SAR units.

There are inherent risks in SAR and risk cannot be completely eliminated. Risk is managed through training, consistent procedures and professional attitudes. Safety is our highest priority in every activity and we have a very good safety record. Insurance through Emergency Management British Columbia (EMBC) and through a National provider is provided to all SAR members during tasks and training. Workers Compensation also applies.

There is a minimum time commitment of two years. During the first year, new members are required to attend 75% of all tasks and training. During the second year, new members are required to commit to ongoing tasks and training.
In addition, it takes a lot of work and resources to keep a SAR unit running. Members are required to participate in PR and fundraising events that are scheduled throughout the year. Members are also encouraged to participate in committees that are organized when the need arises.

No. If you are accepted, then equipment gear requirements will be discussed.

Every member must have a Level 1 First Aid certification and will be required to maintain that. Higher levels of first aid training are desirable but not required. Providing first aid is an essential part of SAR work. If you are squeamish around blood and other first aid environments, then applicants are encouraged to discuss this during the interview.

If you realize that SAR is not for you and that this is not what you had expected, or personal demands do not allow you to commit the time to SAR, then it is best to speak to the Training Director as soon as possible before too much time is invested in your training. Sometimes, life gets in the way of our desires. It is best to re-apply when time and commitment open up for you.

New member training usually begins in mid February and runs until May. It is a very intensive training that runs 3 or 4 days a week for about 12 weeks in the evenings. This period is chosen so that new members will be ready to participate in the field when the task call-outs increase during the summer. New member are expected to attend every training session and also practice some skills at home.

Applicants should have no chronic health issues that would interfere in performing strenuous activities in demanding remote conditions under adverse conditions.

All new members must be capable of performing in the field. Individuals should be reasonably fit and fitness levels will be tested during new member intake. Carry a 200 lb. man on an improvised litter over rough conditions for a few miles and you’ll appreciate being in good physical condition. Each member must be able to respond quickly without becoming a victim themselves.

SAR volunteer members are providing a service to the RCMP. We are also serving the public in a trusted capacity and possibly working with vulnerable and minor individuals.

You will have to supply a Criminal Record Check to us, which you can optain from the RCMP detachment. The RCMP charges a fee for those. Your application will then be reviewed by a committee. If selected, you will be invited to an interview. A committee will then make the final selection and the selected applicants will be invited to new member training.

This is posted on the advertisement itself. It is normally near the end of the calendar year.

If you are interested in making a donation to help cover our immediate operational, training and maintenance needs, please make your cheque payable to:
Vernon Search and Rescue Society
9850 Aberdeen Road, Coldstream, BC, V1B 2K9, Canada
As we are a registered charity, your contribution is deductible for federal income tax purposes.
Or you can donate online. The easiest way to donate is to click on the “Donate Now” button on this page or any other page on the site, or follow this link and be sure to selection the “Vernon Search and Rescue Fund” on the Fund/Designation drop down. That will take you to the donation types where you can use your credit card to set up a one time or ongoing donation. All information is confidential and is securely protected using the same level of security used by Banks and other financial institutions. Your information is never sold.

Simple answer Yes if done so by cash. With online donations we are required by the Canada Revenue Agency to keep detailed records for each donation that requires donor names and addresses. We do not sell or share donor information, we use Paypal as payment processor and have no record of your payment information.

Donations made through the payment portal are treated exactly the same as charitable donations. The Canadian Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) has approved the use of electronic tax receipts. Once a donation is made through the portal, a receipt is emailed to you confirming the transaction. An official receipt will be mailed if your full contact information is provided in the transaction.The receipt will state that the donation has been made to the Vernon Search and Rescue. The funds will be directed to a Vernon SAR held bank account.

Basic search and rescue training consists of classroom and practical events, as well as online exams. The total hours are approximate 70 which are held over a few weeks.

There are no fee's to join Vernon Search and Rescue, however you are required to have some basic outdoor gear.

We have workers compensation coverage.

Occupation First Aid (OFA) Level 1 – sometimes called Workplace Emergency First Aid – is a 7 hour introductory first aid course and as such, it does not require any previous training. Occupational First Aid Certificate Transportation Endorsement
First Aid training will include, as a minimum, demonstration of the following competencies;

  • identification and performing appropriate interventions for minor soft tissue injuries, including the need for medical referral, providing follow-up care and be able to accurately complete the required First Aid Record (should the course not include record completion the SAR group will ensure a volunteer with that training is available should injury occur).
  • Identification and management of respiratory and circulatory critical interventions for responsive and unresponsive patients.
  • Identification and management of bleeding critical interventions and describe how to identify and manage various medical emergencies.

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss this with their employer. During SAR tasks, there is the potential for a member to miss work unexpectedly, although, this can be managed and minimized. During tasks, it is important that every member be focused on the task and not worrying about family or work.

All potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss this with their family before applying as SAR demands a substantial amount of your time.

There are no restrictions on who can become a member, beyond an age restriction for minors, and the group consists of both genders, as well as a clean criminal record. The only requirement is that each member completes the 75 hour Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) course as required by Emergency Management BC. It is worth noting, that Vernon SAR operates on a 100% volunteer basis and volunteers are not reimbursed for the time they must take away from their family and work for task, training or administration.

Depending on the team’s need, we recruit between 8 to 15 new members to maintain the desired team level. The entry process is competitive because the number of applicants always exceeds the number of available positions. The process is selective because only those candidates who are capable of performing SAR work are accepted.

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