Kent Harrison Search and Rescue Team Society,
PO Box 747,
Agassiz, BC V0M 1A0
KHSAR is a registered non-profit organization in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Its primary function is that of a community resource to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the British Columbia Ambulance Service and the British Columbia Coroners Service in a variety of search and rescue functions. Although originally formed in 1957, the team has only been receiving annual operating grants since 1991. Much of the team’s equipment has been purchased through donations from community groups and businesses such as the Agassiz-Harrison Lions Club, Lionesses, Ladies of the Royal Purple, Harrison Yacht Club, Elks, BC Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, Bank of Montreal, Triple Crown Pub and Mountain Equipment Co-op. The orignal rescue truck and the ‘Spirit of Harrison’ rescue boat were obtained through a contribution (NIF) from the federal government in 1993 and became assets of the society in 1997.
Operating under guidelines set out by Emergency Management BC (EMBC – formerly known as PEP) Kent Harrison Search and Rescue is manned solely by volunteers. Volunteers (an average of 25), are on call 24 hours through the use of VHF pagers. Call-outs are usually initiated by the local detachment of the RCMP (or BC Ambulance) who contact the team through the Fraser regional fire dispatch and briefs them regarding the operation to be carried out. Volunteers are called to the base where a briefing is given and resources are deployed. A call is placed to the EMBC duty officer in Victoria to obtain a task number, which is used to reclaim expenses (meals and mileage) on the completion of the task. In some cases the designated search and rescue (SAR) manager will request other resources such as neighbouring SAR teams (Chilliwack or Hope) or aerial support (RCMP or local private helicopter services). It is important that volunteers respond promptly and are properly equipped, as valuable time can be lost at the outset of an operation.
Search & Rescue (SAR) in Canada is divided up into 3 main categories:
- Ground and Inland Water (lost and/or missing persons) – Responsibility of the ‘Police Force of Jurisdiction’ (in most cases)
- Marine – Canadian Coast Guard
- Air – National Defence
Mission Statement: Kent Harrison Search and Rescue, as a registered non-profit society, delivers a professional-quality search and rescue service to the community by developing and maintaining resources to safely, efficiently and effectively resolve incidents outlined in the risk assessment of the area.