Terrace Search and Rescue members with the beds they made at their recent 24-hour overnight survival training.

Searchers learn survival skills at overnight training

It’s about making do with items you have if you have to stay out overnight

Search and Rescue members spent 24 hours learning to survive with items they have with them.

Led by Scott McGinlay, seven members plus a man and his 11-year-old son who wanted to learn went out to Exchamsiks and built proper shelters, learned how to build a bed that’s off the ground and how to light a fire with a flint instead of using matches and a lighter.

“What we did was work as a team,” said McGinlay, adding that the 11 year old “was very good and has no problems being in the bush.”

The skills are aimed at searchers who are out looking for someone and are not able to make it back home overnight so they learn what they need to do to survive the night.

All new search and rescue members have to do the overnighter at least once, said McGinlay.

“We need to come up with a shelter, and the shelter we build is from what’s in our packsack with us. It’s not sleeping bags, it’s a quick-and-make-do kinda shelter,” he said.

Everybody builds a bed outdoors in a different way but generally they are about eight inches off the ground, which keeps you away from the cold and dampness, he added.

“A lot of it I learned through search and rescue and I was born and raised in Terrace and have spent a lot of time fishing and hunting on my own,” said McGinlay.

You want a flint to start fires because even it if gets wet, it still works; matches and a lighter won’t work if wet.

McGinlay taught about four of these overnighters last year and this was the first one this year; it’s good to do one in every type of weather and he tries to do them where searchers might be called to find someone, he added.

He’s planning for another one in October and says it will require ATVs or Rhinos to get to the area.

This weekend, president of search and rescue Dwayne Sheppard will be leading a mapping training session at Larsen’s Ridge and spend the night on top of the mountain, said McGinlay.