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.

The next information session is May 9, 2023. If you already have your GSAR certificate from the JIBC, pleaseĀ contact us.

2. Go Through the Checklist

New applicants need to meet a number of requirements and complete a number of tasks before starting training:

  • You must be 19 years of age or over.
  • You must achieve and maintain a minimum Basic First Aid (Occupational First Aid Level 1 or equivalent/higher).
  • You must have a 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).
  • 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.)
  • Must own a computer and have basic skills to complete the online portions of the training.

3. Attend our Ground Search & Rescue (GSAR) Training

Training for GSAR consists of about 80 hours of instruction, split between online, classroom, and practical exercises. This course is generally run over two months in the winter/spring, but each specific course will have its own dates. 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 fieldwork in rain or shine!

What Happens Next?

After you have completed your GSAR course, you will have a 6-month probationary period during which 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, or be 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 in 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: