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News Letter

Greetings from the members of Bancroft Search & Rescue. We're glad you found us.

Bancroft Search and Rescue (BSAR) is a non-profit, charitable organization, founded in May 2000, whose primary mission is to provide a trained group of volunteers when called upon by the Ontario Provincial Police. The O.P.P. is mandated to provide search and rescue services in all areas of Ontario under their jurisdication and their Emergency Response Team (ERT) is used for this purpose. They provide swift and efficient service and most searches are completed successfully within four to six hours. Should a search go longer, or involve unusual circumstances, the O.P.P. can call upon our trained civilian volunteers. When BSAR is called out it operates under the command of the O.P.P. Search Manager, and its members are covered under the O.P.P.ís compensation program. Although our service area is generally considered to be that of the Bancroft O.P.P. detachment, we are prepared, like other SAR groups, to assist in neighbouring areas.

All active members are trained to SAR I (level one search & rescue) which includes basic map and compass skills, distance measuring skills (tally walking), knowledge of rudimentary bush survival skills and basic first aid. Search team members require good physical health , confidence working in a wilderness environment, ability to receive and carry out instructions, ability to work as a team member, willingness to work in adverse weather conditions and take the time to get training, practice and provide emergency assistance when required . There are also roles for those not able to spend days in the bush.

Once a year members meet to elect a Board of Directors who assign themselves executive duties for the unit, (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Directors at Large). Appointed by the Board, from members of the Board or from the general membership, are Chairs for the following committees: Equipment & Logistics, Training, Communications, Public Relations and Fund Raising.

Members of the executive attend the annual meeting of the Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association (OSARVA) to stay up to date on current issues, network and share information.The 2004 meeting is being staged at O.P.P. general headquarters in Orillia.

Seven members of the executive were able (with the financial assistance of the Bancroft Area Community Policing Advisory Committee) to attend SARScene in Kingston in 2003. The national trade show and workshop event organized by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat with assistance from OSARVA and the O.P.P. was a valuable learning and networking experience.

For 2004, our primary goals are to ensure recertification of existing members and provision of training sessions for those keen on joining our ranks. While the O.P.P. didn't need our services during the last calendar year, we will be ready when called upon. As an organization with no funding source, we will continue to look for ways of generating the money required for training and equipment and to increase our ability to inform the public about safe travel in remote areas.

We are always pleased to hear from anyone interested in participating in or supporting our organization and would be happy to respond to inquiries. Meanwhile, if you are venturing into the great outdoors, please do so with the knowledge required to ensure the safety and safe return of yourself and your companions. While we can't necessarily endorse all the views contained in the sites on our "links" section, there is a wealth of useful information there and more to be had on the net and in print.

Our next update will follow the OSARVA A.G.M. for 2004.

Mike Beeston,
Bancroft Search and Rescue