The last two remaining members of the Keremeos ground search and rescue group have made the very difficult decision to close the group down.
Rose Koehler and Darrell Taylor, a husband and wife team that had been involved with Keremeos SAR since its restart in 2009, found it impossible to recruit enough members to keep the group running.
“We live in an area with a high number of retired people and, those who are not retired, are often very busy with work responsibilities and family life,” says Koehler. “Being a search and rescue volunteer typically means a significant commitment in time and energy.”
Koehler and Taylor say the decision to close down was gut-wrenching but they’d like to assure Keremeos and area residents that other SAR teams can respond quickly. “Some of them can be here in 10 minutes,” says Koehler.
Coverage for search and rescue calls for Keremeos and its surrounding area will now be handled by the closest SAR group – either Penticton, Oliver/Osoyoos or Princeton – depending on where the incident occurs. As always, deployment of a ground search and rescue team can only be requested by certain agencies such as the police. Anyone worried about a missing person or requiring search and rescue assistance should call 911 to initiate that process as soon as possible (do NOT wait 24 hours).
“We loved being part of this group and providing this service to our town but it was simply impossible to continue,” Koehler says.
Chris Mushumanski, president of the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA), says “the dedication these members showed was inspiring and we thank them for their lengthy service along with everyone else who participated in the Keremeos SAR group. We’re grateful for the time they gave and wish them all the best.”
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Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in British Columbia is provided solely by volunteers. On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, these unpaid professionals provide their time, dedication and expertise as well as their own personal gear at no cost to the people of B.C. and to the individuals they rescue. BCSARA is proud to represent the 3,000+ GSAR volunteers in B.C. who make up 78 teams across the province. To donate to support these volunteers, please visit here.
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