BCSARA is pleased to announce that through funding from the Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund (SAR-NIF) a new self rescue aid is being made available to Swiftwater Rescue Teams in B.C.

The Rapid Survival System (RSS) has been developed by North Water and a group of Search and Rescue swiftwater professionals to provide significant additional emergency flotation to a swimmer in a swiftwater environment.

The RSS is designed to provide significant additional emergency floatation and assistance for rescuers in scenarios such as body entrapment, swimming big, fast, or highly aerated water, long deep swims or when caught in recirculating hydraulic features.

The $68,000 approved within the Implementation of New Swiftwater Standards project supported the first production run of the RSS. BCSARA is providing $8,960 and will be covering shipping. A total of 98 units will be provided

Additional inflation cylinders are being provided for practice, and Swiftwater Rescue Teams will provide feedback within the project.


The 3 year Swiftwater project provided $147,000 for 1,225 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and other gear; $273,000 in training for 471 volunteers; $25,000 for Team Leader Training, and $40,000 for a provincial workshop. The funding for the RSS units is valuable addition to the project as it comes to an end.

Jim McAllister, the lead for the Swiftwater SAR-NIF project, reflects, “It has been an honour to work with the Swiftwater Task Force, the Joint Health and Safety Committee, and the dedicated volunteers within the 49 Swiftwater Rescue Teams on implementing the new standards. The addition of the RSS units is part of the continuous improvement of the SAR safety program.”