This two-day Search and Rescue course offered an introduction to Search and Rescue procedures and situations. This was an introduction and insight into search and rescue programs (without certification) geared to orient and give us some tools so we, as guides, can assist full search and rescue teams should the need come up. Who knows the forest better than those who guide it (us) so basic knowledge will allow us to partner with and assist authorities.

 Wilderness ToursThe first day we spent learning techniques (Probability of Areas, hasty searches), history and case studies, as well as different types of terrain-searches (water, snow, forest). At the end of the first day we were told that the next day we would have a field exercise to find four people “lost” in the forest around our training facility, Wilderness Tours (WT). We had about an hour and a half to do some preplanning for the next day.


The next day we left Pembroke at noon to travel to WT. We had about two and a half hours before we got the “call” saying there were four hikers lost in the forests close by. Our two leaders were pre-picked and we split into groups of four or five, separated and combed assigned areas in search of missing hikers.


My group was poorly organized. We knew where we were going and what we were supposed to do but getting there was a completely different story. We were lost for about an hour, then realized we were way off track. Once we re-oriented our position, base-camp notified us that three people had been found and they knew where the fourth one was so we just headed back to camp. Learning from mis-steps taught us new understanding of the dangers and challenges to a full-on search and rescue mission where lives can be at stake.


In the end it only took fifty of us four hours to find four people. Strategy, planning, knowing the terrain and field searching introduced us to a better understanding of search and rescue. I thought it was kind of fun, the adrenaline of being part of a field search for a missing person. I would definitely do it again given the opportunity – hopefully real opportunities are few and far between!


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