North Shore Rescue offers a variety of SAR services – the main ones being; mountain search and rescue; helicopter rescue; urban search and rescue; public education; and civil emergency response. There is no charge for these services of the team. They are described in more detail below.
Mountain Search and Rescue
The mountains and canyons of the North Shore present a tremendous variety of outdoor recreation opportunities to Lower Mainland residents and visitors. These same attractions become hazards to the unwary and to North Shore Rescue Team members when called to assist those in trouble. To manage this risk, the team trains continuously to sharpen important skills. Every team member is trained and equipped to provide search and rescue and first aid services in all types of terrain and in all seasons.
The majority of team members are trained to the Justice Institute of BC’s rope rescue team member level, while a large group is further trained to the team leader level. NSR is also lucky to have a JI rope rescue instructor on the team. Additionally the majority of members go through our summer mountain workshop which teaches mountain rescue skills in an alpine environment.
Helicopter Flight Rescue System (HFRS)
North Shore Rescue is a founding organization for the provision of the Helicopter Flight Rescue Systems (or HFRS). HFRS is used to insert/extract rescuers into difficult terrain, as well as to extract stranded or injured patients. It is quick, efficient and very safe. NSR has performed over 100 of these specialized rescues since its inception in 1996. NSR is a leader in North America in this type of rescue.
HFRS is now more commonly referred to as the Helicopter External Transport System (HETS). More information on this system can be found here.
Urban Search and Rescue
NSR provides Search and Rescue services to local police agencies in response to searches for elderly walk away’s and lost or missing children. NSR has developed a comprehensive pre-plan to deal with this type of demanding urban and rescue emergency. Often members are deployed by mountain bikes to cover urban areas quickly.
Civil Emergency Response
As a community based team, North Shore Rescue has skills to assist in civil emergencies and disasters. The team can provide search and rescue, communications, first aid, and other assistance to the community to alleviate the distress that can be caused by floods, earthquakes, and other natural and man-made events.
NSR maintains a Casualty Collecting Unit that is part of the National Emergency Services Stockpile. This unit is stored at NSR’s Embassy, it comprises of stretchers blankets and first aid equipment.
Police Evidence Search
North Shore Rescue members are often called upon by the local police to assist in searching for evidence in criminal cases. All NSR members are trained in grid searches and securing a scene. The team will work under the direction of a police investigator to search likely areas. We have assisted in these searches both on the North Shore and other jurisdictions like UBC and Bowen Island.
Team volunteers will address your organization or club on mountain and hiking safety. Presentations include programs for young children, and informative hiking safety lectures tailored to youth and adults. The team has produced a “Hiking Safely” video that is designed to help develop the attitude and safety skills necessary to enjoy hikes with comfort and confidence. This video is available for purchase or loan from North Shore Rescue, and is also available in many libraries.
Grouse Grind Patrol
NSR provides a nightly sweep of the very popular Grouse Grind, on behalf of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD), to ensure that the trail is clear of lost or injured hikers. The Grind is only swept on nights that the trail is open.