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

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Commercial salmon fisheries delayed for Bella Coola area

DFO notice says Area C gill net fisheries in Area 8 have been delayed until June 15

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read