Ahead of the May long weekend, we’re asking for the public’s help. We want to keep search and rescue (SAR) task numbers as low as possible and reduce the severity of any tasks that do happen.

In our efforts to respond to 1,750 search and rescue tasks per year, we’re asking outdoor enthusiasts to adopt a safety mindset before heading outdoors. Recreationalists play a key role in search and rescue, beginning with what they do before their adventures start and during an emergency which can make or break the outcome of any outdoor experience. 

As the public enjoy their time mountain biking, hiking or camping for the first-time this season, or while paddling across a lake, climbing rock faces or 4X4ing on backroads, we ask that they remember the 3,400 B.C. volunteer search and rescue members who would also like to enjoy their long weekend. We strongly encourage making informed decisions by using reliable resources to prep and play outdoors. These tools are key to enjoying activities safely and reducing SAR callouts and the severity of injuries.

How can the public support search and rescue this long weekend?

Here are three reliable resources to help outdoor enthusiasts:

  • Expert Webinars
    • Take part in BC AdventureSmart’s free summer 2024 expert speaker series with 10 special webinars and 13 expert guests, helping recreationalists prep and become rescue ready.
    • Check out our first 2024 spring webinar with 6X Olympian and thru-hiker Clara Hughes. Clara shares her adventurous 800kms journey along the Vancouver Island Trail.
  • Adventure Hub
    • Check out the Adventure Hub which is a custom-built online planning platform with more than 450 outdoor recreation businesses and organizations with 24 categories covering eight B.C. regions.

Quotes

“So many people in B.C are passionate about outdoor recreation, it is one of the significant benefits of living in this beautiful province. Before heading to a provincial park this weekend, we encourage visitors to plan ahead and check the park webpage to ensure a memorable experience in our beautiful outdoors and to follow responsible recreation guidelines.” – Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

“Most of our injured or lost subjects were just out for a day hike or just out for a quick climb or just picking mushrooms at their usual secret spot. If you find yourself ‘just’ doing a day trip this weekend, ask yourself what would happen if something went wrong. When hikers, campers, mountain bikers and all outdoor enthusiasts plan ahead, it helps all search and rescue volunteers, too!” – Lauren Phillips, Team Leader, Prince George Search and Rescue

“Help us (SAR) spend this long weekend with our families. We would love to stay at our family BBQs and not leave our children (again). As a SAR volunteer, I greatly appreciate folks who research their adventures thoroughly beforehand, making sure they have the right equipment and training before deciding where to go – if the public do need rescuing (it happens) it makes the rescue go much smoother when enthusiasts have and are prepared.” – John Blown, SAR Manager, North Shore Rescue

“The majority of rescues that Juan de Fuca SAR respond to are lower leg injuries along the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. In 2023, this very challenging trail had the third highest number of rescues of any trail in the province. If you’re planning a hiking trip this weekend, my advice is to choose hiking boots with a good grip and proper ankle support. Hiking poles provide additional stability especially when hiking with a backpack in rugged terrain.” – Victoria Clarke, Coordinator/Manager, Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue

Media Only Contact Information

BC Search and Rescue Association
Sandra Riches, Executive Director, BC AdventureSmart
604-671-2241 / sandra.riches@bcsara.com

About BCSARA

Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in British Columbia is provided solely by highly-trained volunteers. On call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, these unpaid professionals provide their time, dedication and expertise at no cost to the individuals they rescue. BC SAR teams have never not responded to an activation in the 20-year history of the BCSARA organization. BCSARA is proud to represent the 3,400+ 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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How to request SAR help

All requests must go through 911 or, if using a satellite phone, through the Emergency Coordination Centre at 1-888-344-5888. Do NOT wait 24 hours to report someone overdue or missing. SAR teams can only be activated by a requesting agency such as the police or EHS. There is no charge for search and rescue in British Columbia.