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Grand Forks Search & Rescue uses new gear during emergency flood response

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by Tanya Laing Gahr
May 31, 2018

Community investment, Environment



FortisBC’s Community Investment program supports a variety of initiatives that have a lasting positive impact in communities in which we operate. We do this by supporting projects that focus on safety, education, environment or Indigenous initiatives. The focus on safety was one of the considerations when FortisBC provided funding to the Grand Forks Search & Rescue (SAR) organization for two full sets of specialized personal protective equipment (PPE)—equipment that was put to use during the recent flooding in the community.

 
Grand Forks Search & Rescue volunteers used specialized PPE, purchased with support from FortisBC, in the recent floods in the
Kootenay Boundary region.

Grand Forks in the Kootenay Boundary area of B.C.’s interior is recovering from this spring’s devastating floods. During the peak of the flood, 1,600 properties were on evacuation alert, and many homes may have significant damage once all the waters have receded. This was a difficult and trying time for the tightknit community. At its peak, the usually lazy Kettle River had spilled its banks and the waters rose so quickly that many people had to be rescued from their homes. The SAR was a part of the efforts to keep people safe and get them to higher ground.

On the ground and in the water

“We live in a remote area with limited emergency services and limited rescue services,” said Christina Mavinic, one of the organization’s volunteers. “The population is low and the land is large, making volunteer search and rescue services essential to keeping the public safe. We are often able to get to remote and difficult locations long before emergency services can, and are thus able to stabilize and often extricate subjects to a waiting ambulance or other rescue services.”

FortisBC provided funding for two full sets of specialized PPE for swiftwater and flat ice rescue. The equipment plus training gave the Grand Forks SAR greater capacity to respond to the unfolding emergency situations during the worst of the flooding.


The dedicated volunteers from the Grand Forks Search & Rescue team require ongoing support to their work in the community.
Learn how you can help at their website.

“As a volunteer-based organization, we are always in recruitment mode,” said Mavinic. “Keeping trained, competent volunteers on our team and working together in a variety of settings is an ongoing challenge. Keeping equipment up to date, safe and available to our team members is a financial and logistical challenge.”

To find out more about the Grand Forks SAR or contribute to their efforts, please visit their website.​