Squamish Search and Rescue volunteers were able to have a bit of a break over the last week, as no calls have been recorded since March 29.On April 5, rescue manager B.J. Chute told The Chief no calls were received during the Easter long weekend.
Friday and Saturday saw overcast and rainy weather, while Sunday saw a pleasant spell of sun.In the meantime, the province declared that B.C.'s ground search and rescue groups have just wrapped up the busiest year in their history.
Officials say as COVID-19 restrictions pushed people to explore outdoors, it also drew GSAR groups out to a record number of requests to assist the public.Between April 2020 and April 2021, B.C.'s GSAR groups were deployed 1,959 times. This is an increase of nearly 25% when compared to callouts in previous years. Prior to this, B.C.'s GSAR groups attended an average of roughly 1,500 responses annually — more than the rest of Canada combined.
"B.C.'s 79 GSAR groups have been pushed to their limits," said Chris Kelly, president of the BC Search and Rescue Association in a news release. "COVID-19 has made risky work even more dangerous for each individual. I implore anyone heading out into the elements to do their part by planning ahead. Make sure you're prepared for where you're going - have a plan, have the right gear, know how to use it and take the training."
Despite the last week, Squamish's rescuers have been busy as well. They broke their all-time record for calls last year, with a grand total of 120 calls, breaking the previous 104-call record of 2018.
As for this year, they've attended to 19 calls in 2021, up from 14 as of March 30 last year.In 2019, they had 12 callouts as of March 30.