North Shore Rescue members, HFRS technicians, and kayak response team members gathered along with BC Parks rangers on Sunday for our annual recurrency, HFRS awareness and lead-up to a large scale January excercise on Grouse Mountain. The day consisted of a briefing in the morning, followed by in and out rescue evolutions utlizing “screamer suits” for rapid deployment. In the afternoon, members practiced with the river rescue basket by doing short-haul and in-out trips.

Although the weather was far from cooperative, conditions did permit for the large majority of the training/recurrency/lead-up to go ahead.

Overall a busy weekend for rescue volunteers; with hover entry/exit training on Saturday, and Helicopter Flight Rescue System training on Sunday. This level of dedication keeps us ready to respond to a call, and allows us to best serve the public interest. Although these training sessions are of a significant cost to the NSR society, the safety and performance results are without a price tag.

One of the key features of this exercise is the demonstrable need for a non-military rescue helicopter to be made available during the Olympics for “outside the fence” calls. NSR has a strong relationship with Talon Helicopters, who have both the right aircraft (small, powerful aircraft capable of safely entering tight terrain) and the expertise (flying ability, terrain knowledge, and invaluable familiarity with local SAR teams) to perform safe, efficient and life-saving operations that may otherwise be unavailable during the 2010 winter games. It is hoped that the provincial government will provide a standby civilian helicopter for local SAR teams during the event.