Thank you for your interest in Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue. In order to become a member, there are several steps that must be taken:
1. Join us for an information session
To kick off our recruitment drive, we hold an open house and information session. This event will give you a chance to meet some of our members and learn more about being a Search and Rescue volunteer.
Due to the COVID-19 complications, we are behind schedule on our current recruit class, and as such have not set a date for the next intake yet. If you are especially eager, or already have your GSAR certificate from the JIBC, please contact us and/or continue below.
2. Submit an application
New applicants are required to complete all sections of the form below.
Please be aware of the below requirements of membership before filling out the paperwork and applying:
- You must be 19 years of age or over.
- You must achieve and maintain a minimum of Occupational First Aid Level 1 (OFA1) or equivalent. Training for this requirement can provided at no cost as funding allows.
- You must have clean criminal record check pertaining to working with children or vulnerable individuals.
- You must have a good driving record if you will be driving to call outs (yes, even in your personal vehicle). Obtain your abstract free here (BC license only), and submit with your application.
- You must achieve a certain number of hours of participation each year to maintain good standing with the group. Hours include meetings, exercises, and call outs. (Outlined in Administrative Guidelines at the bottom of this page)
3. Attend our Ground Search & Rescue (GSAR) Training
Training for GSAR consists of about 80 hours of instruction, split between classroom work and practical exercises.This course is generally run over two months in the winter/spring. This course covers a variety of skills related to search and rescue including search techniques, wilderness survival, navigation, communications, helicopter safety and the basics of incident command systems. Participants should be prepared for field work in rain or shine!
What Happens Next?
After you have completed your GSAR course, you will have a 6 month probationary period where you will be assessed for suitability for the group. After this period, you may request acceptance into the Society as a member.
At this point you may participate in further training in Swiftwater Rescue, Medical Rescue, and High-Angle Rope Rescue, or asked to take training in Team Leader, Train-the-Trainer (GSAR Instructor), or Search Management courses. Any member must have the suitable skills and demeanor to participate in further training in the more advanced teams, or in a leadership role.
What if I don’t like trudging through the bush, or climbing mountains, or my knees and back hurt, or I prefer to stay far, far away from the madness you propose?
Good news! You can still participate and be a really huge help! We need people who are skilled at communications, logistics, public relations, and general operations. This can look like helpers in a command center during an incident, or someone who likes to maintain equipment, or someone who can help with paperwork! There are many things to do that don’t involve bush-whacking. You can read about all types of membership in the Guidelines below: