The BC Search and Rescue Association is urging the public to take extreme caution if going into the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here search and rescue members practice ice rescue training in the Cariboo weeks before the virus showed up in B.C. (Photo submitted)

The BC Search and Rescue Association is urging the public to take extreme caution if going into the outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here search and rescue members practice ice rescue training in the Cariboo weeks before the virus showed up in B.C. (Photo submitted)

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

If heading into the outdoors, B.C. residents are being urged to be extra cautious due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Now is not the time to bag that peak you’ve been looking at for the last two years,” said BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) senior manager Dwight Yochim. “Wait until this is over and try that later.”

Call volumes across the province are not going down, despite provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s direction for people to stay home.

“The good news is it hasn’t gone up, but the bad news it hasn’t gone down,” Yochim told Black Press Media.

BCSARA is trying to get the message out to be careful, he added.

“We know going outside is good for your mental health, but stay around your municipality, stay close to home and local trails.”

Even if people are going on local trails, they should let someone know when they are leaving and when they have returned.

“If you twist an ankle, fair enough, but it’s not worth trying to push your limits,” he said.

When a SAR unit gets a call-out, then 20 or 30 people on a team who have been self-isolating now come together.

Read more: Central Cariboo Search and Rescue implements adaptive measures for COVID-19 response

“They still try to maintain their two metre distance, even on a search. When they approach the subject, they ask if they have a fever or a cough or if they’ve been exposed to someone who has.”

If they answer ‘yes’ then only a couple of team members will go in, put on gloves and special masks, and eye protection to interact with the subject.

Only a few members will check the subject over and everyone else on the team will stay away, he added.

“If we are lucky we can get them out fairly easily, but if we have to do a stretcher carry-out then we now have 12 people involved. Or if we put them into a helicopter, now we have to worry about the pilot and make sure the pilot is properly protected,” Yochim said.

It raises the risk for everyone if a subject is found to be COVID-19 positive, he said, noting it is not worth it right now.

There are 79 teams and 2,500 search and rescue volunteers in B.C. taking extra precautions as the pandemic persists.

“We’d rather the public take extra precautions as well,” Yochim said. “If we run out of personal protection equipment it’s going to delay searches because we will have to call in mutual aid. I’m sure the subject doesn’t want that or the public.”

Due to to pandemic, the federal and provincial governments have already closed access to many outdoor recreation trails and parks.

Read more: Parks Canada to close access to trails

Read more: Williams Lake ski trail, Chilcotin rec site among dozens in B.C. closed due to COVID-19

A current list of closures can be found on the Current Site Closures page of the RSTBC Website.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Aaron Stone, chairman of the Island Coastal Economic Trust, said ICET’s contribution of $250,000 towards the expansion plans at Shawnigan Lake Museum will help diversify and broaden the community’s reputation as a cultural and heritage draw. (File photo)
Shawnigan Lake Museum’s expansion plans gets financial boost

ICET contributes $250,000 towards $1.8-million project

Police looking for witnesses to robbery. (File photo)
RCMP looking for witnesses to Duncan robbery

Incident took place in Duncan on Oct. 30

North Cowichan council (pictured) held it’s first virtual council meeting back in April. Lake Cowichan council is following suit and will be posting their meetings on YouTube as well. (Screenshot)
Lake Cowichan going online with council meetings

For some, it’ll be the perfect background noise for deep sleep induction,… Continue reading

Stock photo
Late goal gives Fury edge over Quw’utsun

Local battle only game possible under sports travel ban

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lake Cowichan’s town hall is now locked. Members of the public can only enter by knocking or by phoning and making an appointment. (File photo)
$1.16-million in COVID cash granted to Lake Cowichan

Pandemic protocol locks town hall doors

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

Most Read