CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — The Chilliwack Search and Rescue is well on their way to hit a record number of calls by the end of the year.
Search Manager Doug Fraser says in a typical year they see around 80 rescues but he expects they’ll pass that by Thanksgiving. So far, they’ve already had 67 rescues across the Fraser Valley.
“We are well on the way surpassing to 90 — I would say with certainty — possibly even getting close to 100,” he tells NEWS 1130.
And according to Fraser the pandemic is to blame for the spike. He says since people are not able to travel, more people are heading outdoors.
“People are unable to go holiday in the States, or other countries and they are finding ways to holiday and enjoying themselves in the outdoors here.”
In July, the province said it will commit $6 million to 79 search and rescue groups every year beginning in 2022.
While Fraser is grateful for the funding, unfortunately, it will not address call volume and the impact on volunteers as demand increases.
“There is a price to pay, and that’s volunteer time,” he says. “We’re using more of it this year. And fortunately, we can avoid burnout of our volunteers, by taking advantage of what we call mutual aid where neighbouring teams can help one another.”
If you are thinking of heading out and hiking a trail, Fraser is advising you to tell someone where you are going, bring the right equipment and identify your fitness level to determine which hikes you go on.