Terrace Search and Rescue vice president Dave Jephson during longline training exercises in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Terrace Search and Rescue vice president Dave Jephson during longline training exercises in 2018. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Terrace Search and Rescue Operations spike in 2020

Last year was the busiest ever for Search and Rescue groups in B.C.

COVID-19 restrictions have encouraged more people to get outside, which has resulted in a busy year for Terrace Search and Rescue (SAR). But according to Dave Jephson, Terrace SAR vice-president, there was the potential for it to be even busier.

In 2020, SAR took part in 41 operations which include rescues, searches and recoveries. That figure is significantly more than the group’s 26 operations in 2019 and 25 operations in 2018.

“We thought that there was going to be more, we were prepared for more, but you know what, I take my hat off to the public,” Jephson, said.

“People took heed, we came out in the early part of the year and said, ‘hey, you know what, if you’re an extreme mountain biker, maybe tone it down a bit?’”

As a whole, 2020 was the busiest year ever for B.C.’s ground search and rescue (GSAR) groups, according to a B.C. government media release. Between April 2020 and April 2021, GSAR groups around the province were deployed a total of 1,959 times, an increase of close to 25 per cent.

As spring approaches, Jephson said people should get outside. “Prepare, that would be the biggest message that we can send.”

“If you think it can happen to you, and you prepare for it, you’re going to be safer and better off.”

Despite the fact that Terrace Search and Rescue took part in more operations last year, the total number of person hours was actually lower than the last two years. In 2020, Terrace SAR logged 6,529 person hours which includes all training, meetings and operations.

That figure is lower than the total person hours in 2018 (6,659) and 2019 (8,420) due to a lack of community events and training hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jephson said that people planning an excursion should visit adventuresmart.ca, a website that contains tips and information about how to be safe and how to prepare for a trip.

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