National avalanche centre receives federal support
With new federal support, the National Avalanche Centre can start building
on avalanche safety programs that will save lives in all areas of Canada
where avalanches threaten human activities, says Clair Israelson, Executive
Director of the Canadian Avalanche Association
David Anderson, former Minister of Environment, announced three year funding
earlier in 2004.
An expansion of the CAA, the National Avalanche Centre will focus on six
Public use of Canada's mountains is increasing and as a result, more people
are exposed to avalanche risk," said Mr. Israelson. "We can do
better, and we will."
- Co-ordinate public avalanche safety programs
- Provide a public avalanche warning system
- Deliver public avalanche awareness and education problems
- Provide avalanche-related training for amateur backcountry recreationists
- Be the point of contact for public, private and government avalanche
- Encourage avalanche research
Juan officially retired from list of hurricane names
With urging from Environment
Canada, the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) has retired the hurricane name 'Juan' and has replaced
it with 'Joaquin' on its list of names.
This is the first time that Canada has requested the retirement of a hurricane
name. The request was made because of the devastation Hurricane Juan caused
in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in late September 2003.
Names are usually replaced when a hurricane has caused serious economic
impact, loss of life or considerable damage. More than 50 other names
have been withdrawn and replaced on the WMO's list.
Smaller, low-cost 406 MHz ELTs now available
A new, smaller and low-cost 406 emergency locator transmitter (ELT) is
now on the market. Its lower cost makes it more accessible to small aircraft
Introduced by EMS Technologies, the new ELT weighs 2.1 lbs, has a six-year
battery life cycle and has been COSPAS-SARSAT certified to operate at
the 406 MHz and 121.5 MHz frequencies. Included on the ELT are a remote
switch, a whip antenna and a buzzer to alert crews of accidental activation.
The cost of this new ELT is $998 US.
New approach for boating awareness campaign
The Canadian Safe Boating Awareness Committee, comprised of the Canadian
Safe Boating Council (CSBC), the Canadian Coast Guard and others,
has developed a new program to deliver the safe boating message to communities
across the country.
This year's messages focus on personal flotation device wear, safe boating
education, dangers of drinking and boating, use of proper safety equipment,
navigation rules on the water, weather and other environmental factors
that affect boating safety.
"Unlike with previous campaigns," said Ted Rankine, Past President
of the CSBC, "I am pleased to report that Safe Boating Week is not
over for this year. Its concept, and even its name, was changed to reflect
the fact that the safe boating practices we promote during the week should
be carried 'onboard' throughout the season."
The key for the program was to develop professional, compelling content
and deliver it to Canadian boating safety advocates and the local media.
Newspapers and cable companies continue to deliver boating safety messages
to viewers, with tailor-made information to keep their local communities
safe on the water.
Little Prince wreckage found after 60 years
The wreckage of author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's military plane
was found in early April 2004, almost 60 years after it plunged into the
Mediterranean Sea near Marseille, France.
Saint-Exupéry, known for his book, The Little Prince, was
on a solo flight in July 1944 when he disappeared.
At the age of 26, Saint-Exupéry became a mail service pilot flying
from France to South Africa and helped pioneer mail routes between France
and South America. An aviation leader, his experiences are described in
his other books, Southern Mail (Courrier sud), Night Flight (Vol de
nuit), Flight to Arras (Pilote de guerre), Airman's Odyssey, Wisdom of
the Sands, Letter to a Hostage (Lettre à un Otage) and Wind,
Sand and Stars (Terre des hommes).
It is not known what caused the 44 year-old veteran pilot to crash.
|In July, the Canada Aviation Museum
received the first Labrador to enter service 41 years ago. A ceremony
was held at the museum to mark the occasion. Left to right: Lorne
RodenBush, First Labrador Pilot; Anthony Smyth, Director General of
the Canada Aviation Museum; the Honourable Mauril Bélanger,
Associate Minister of National Defence; Major-General Richard Bastien,
Assistant Chief of Air Staff; Jean Murray, Executive Director of the
National Search and Rescue Secretariat; and Captain Mark Levesque,
last Labrador pilot. The Lab's engines are being converted for use
elsewhere in the Canadian Forces.
Labrador helicopters remembered
After 41 years of service as Canada's primary search and rescue (SAR)
aircraft, the CH
113 Labradors have retired.
In June, a Lab send-off was held at CFB Trenton, with a demonstration
of the Labrador's flying abilities. For the final celebration, two SAR
Techs jumped from the Lab at 10,000 feet to land in the Bay of Quinte
in front of CFB Trenton. After sending off flares, the pair was picked
up by a near-by rescue boat and then hoisted back into the Lab.
The event was hosted by 424
Transport and Rescue Squadron at 8
Wing Trenton, marking the official transition to the CH
On July 27, the Labrador was inducted into the Canada
Aviation Museum at a ceremony attended by over 200 people, including
The Honourable Mauril Bélanger, Associate Minister of National
Defence, and Mr. Lorne RodenBush, Honourary Colonel (424 Squadron) and
the first Canadian Labrador pilot.
New alerting detection booklet
Developed by Transport Canada
and the Canadian Coast Guard,
the booklet Alerting, Detection and Response - Dealing with Accidents
at Sea provides safety information to small vessel fish harvesters.
It describes the Canadian search and rescue system and the services available
when dealing with marine accidents, and includes contact information for
the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centres and Maritime Rescue Sub-Centres.
The booklet is available at Office
of Boating Safety and Marine
Communications and Traffic Services offices across the country.
In October, Prince
Edward Island's Emergency Measures Organization will co-host SARSCENE
2005 in Charlottetown. Watch the NSS website for more information.
RCMP equipment supports partnership
In Alberta, the RCMP
is responsible for delivering search and rescue services in approximately
95 per cent of Alberta's geographic area. Search and rescue volunteers
are integral partners in the RCMP's service delivery strategy. In 2002,
the search community contributed approximately 6,700 volunteer hours to
assisting the RCMP during search operations. In 2003, that increased to
over 10,000 hours.
To support the search volunteers in delivering quality service, the RCMP
in Alberta identified 45 computers and 170 handheld spot lamps in surplus
inventory for long term loan to the Search
and Rescue Association of Alberta. The agreement was finalized in
November 2003, and the equipment delivered by year end.
Seascape prototype launched in Newfoundland and
In April 2004, the prototype of the Seascape lifeboat evacuation system
developed by Seascape 2000, took to the waters in Portugal Cove, Newfoundland
Sponsored by Transport Canada
and funded by the New
Search and Rescue Initiatives Fund, the project was designed to enhance
the safety of off-shore drilling personnel in an emergency. The Seascape
system consists of a 30-metre long articulated steel arm launching system
with a lifeboat at the end.
|Courtesy of Seascape 2000
The launch arm, resembling a crane, would be attached to the oil rig to
lower the lifeboat and personnel safely into the water in the event of
After all the tests are complete, the prototype will remain at Portugal
Cove for one year with full exposure to the elements. At the end of the
year, the system will then be tested to ensure it continues to function
safely and effectively.
Technology enhances multi-agency response
by Martin Torn
A new satellite communication and coordination system, the Real-Time
Emergency Management via Satellite (REMSAT II), has been deployed
operationally in the Lillooet area in support of the British Columbia
Forest Service (BCFS) Protection Branch actions on the Seton Lake and
Town Creek wildfires. The REMSAT II system was recently demonstrated at
two simulated wildfires at Whistler and Silver Star, B.C., following which,
the system was deployed directly to the Lillooet fires.
Developed in Canada, REMSAT II is an undertaking of the European Space
Agency in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency. Consortium partners
for the project include Telesat Canada, the B.C. Forest Service, the Communications
Research Centre, Simon Fraser University, and the B.C. Ambulance Service.
REMSAT II is an advanced communication and emergency response coordination
system that combines satellite communication, navigation, location tracking
and earth observation space technologies for emergency management. The
system includes many capabilities, including real-time GPS tracking of
response personnel and equipment, digital messaging in the field, portable
satellite-based voice and data communications, and a deployable, self-contained,
mobile computing and communications module that supports the incident
command team decision-making process.
For more information, visit the project website at www.for.gov.bc.ca/protect/remsat/
Martin Torn works with REMSAT II at Selkirk Systems Inc.
First National SAR Program Annual Report published
The first Annual Report about the National Search and Rescue (SAR) Program
Report in Canada is now available online.
Produced by the National Search and Rescue Secretariat, the report includes
information about the organization of the National SAR Program, activities
during the past year, and the issues and trends that are being addressed,
such as responses to major air and marine incidents, multi-jurisdictional
exercises, interoperability and the growth in high-risk recreational activities.
The Annual Report, along with the Annual
Program Plan and Strategic Directions, represent the planning framework
for the National SAR Program.
Visit www.nss.gc.ca and click on Reports for more information.
Colour coding for Sea Ice Charts formally adopted
With the widespread use of electronic navigational information systems,
the importance of including colour coding for sea ice charts in the World
Meteorological Organization's (WMO) "Sea Ice Nomenclature"
has been recognized.
As a result, the 2000-01 International Ice Charting Working Group prepared
a draft colour standard.
In 2002, participating ice services produced charts with the colour codes
and after few changes, the new standard was adopted by the WMO Secretariat.
For more information visit the Canadian
Ice Service site.
Forum called on mandatory PFD wear
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) (www.ntsb.gov) will hold
a public forum in late August at the NTSB Academy in Ashburn, Virginia
to discuss the mandatory use of personal flotation devices (PFDs).
According to the NTSB, United States Coast Guard figures show only five
per cent of adults in open boats wear PFDs.
The same data indicates approximately 450 lives could be saved each year
if the victims were wearing PFDs.
The agenda for the August 25 forum includes:
Grateful father thanks Saskatchewan volunteers
- New PFD technology
- Alternatives to mandatory wear rules
- The impact of federal and/or state legislation mandating wearing of
- Vessels and types of operation that should be covered in, or exempted
from, mandatory wear rules.
For more information or to register, visit www.ntsb.gov
At the fourth annual Search and
Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV) conference in
Porcupine Plain, Sask., a grateful father was able to thank SAR volunteers
for finding his son.
In the particularly moving address, a father gave a personal account of
what it is like to have a child missing. He thanked the SARSAV volunteers
for their role in locating his son alive and well, and expressed his gratitude
for the compassionate way in which his family was treated during the crisis.
SARSAV President Bob Smith noted, "We seldom get to feel the other
side of our activities. It was especially gratifying to have the family
attend our conference and provide their input."
The mid-April conference included an intensive schedule of seminars, practical
training and refresher qualification courses.
But in addition to the opportunity to train together, the annual conference
gave participants the chance to learn how teams from other parts of the
province handle issues such as motivation, fundraising, relationships with
external agencies and maintaining public profile. It also provided organizations
a valuable opportunity to meet the volunteer SAR community first-hand and
At the awards ceremony, several SARSAV members were recognized for their
contributions to SAR, including a special RCMP commendation presented by
Sgt. Don Dunk to Conservation Officer Daryl Minter, a SARSAV volunteer and
canine handler with Saskatchewan Environment. In March 2004, Daryl and his
partner "Zoro" drove across the province to join the search for
an elderly man lost in the bush near Prince Albert. Fighting fatigue, they
were instrumental in locating the man who was, by then, too weak to stand
or call out, saving him from certain death.
|Conservation officer Daryl Minter and his canine
The conference also featured a SAR Games challenge, where teams from across
the province participated in a friendly competition that tested navigation,
search management, general knowledge, and casualty handling skills. Competition
was fierce, but the Qu'Appelle X-Treme Rescue team emerged as this year's
Exploits win Newfoundland and Labrador Ground
Exploits, the winning team at the Newfoundland and Labrador Ground
Search and Rescue Association games, will represent the province at the
2004 SARSCENE Games
in Calgary, Alberta on October 13.
Held during the Association's annual training weekend in Gros Morne, Nfld.,
the games had seven teams competing in events on search management, survival
skills, medical skills, navigation skills and a mystery event where teams
had to answer skill testing questions about SAR tools of the trade.
Close to 100 volunteers and invited guests attended the three days of
activities which included presentations on wilderness first aid, Newfoundland
and Labrador standards development, working with helicopters, evidence
search and a hands-on GPS course.
Calgary Fire Department Aquatic Team wins swiftwater
Fire Department's (CFD) Aquatic Rescue Team has captured the highest
international award for excellence in swiftwater rescue. It's the first
time a Canadian dive team has received the Higgins and Langley Memorial
Award for Outstanding Achievement in Swiftwater Rescue, acknowledging
superior preparedness and vigilance in the community to prevent injury
and death on local waterways.
Aquatic Rescue Program coordinator and training officer, Keal Prince,
attended a ceremony in Lansdowne, Virginia on behalf of the Fire Department
to receive the award.
|Keal Prince, CFD Aquatic rescue team
"Our search and rescue specialists were tops among 20 to 25 other
world agencies competing for the same award," said Prince. "This
is a huge feather in our cap for the Fire Department and the City of Calgary."
All 50 aquatic rescue team members were recognized for dedication to emergency
readiness, teamwork and success in building a public education program
that has been readily embraced by the community.
Prince said the judges, who were unanimous in bestowing the honour, were
impressed with the program layout, the high level of training and the
sheer diversity of the service.
"CFD divers have raised the bar in program excellence through developing
specialties in aquatic rescue, swift water diving, ice diving, evidence
recovery and forensic investigation," said Prince.
|In June 2002, just upstream from
the weir, the team saved three people after their rubber inflatable
Photo by Darryl Uruski
Fire Chief Wayne Morris, himself a founding member of the aquatic rescue
team in 1976, said winning this award attests to the quality of people
who have dedicated so much of their professional life and much of their
personal time to making the program the success that it is.
The team has accomplished much in its 28-year history. Calgary had a number
of drownings in the early 1970s, mostly at the weir section of downstream
Bow River. Working with Alberta Environment to create the Weir Safety
Team, another phase of the aquatic rescue program, there has not been
one drowning since.
"That kind of unselfish commitment to protecting the lives of others,"
said Prince, "is the essence of the aquatic rescue team."
The Higgins and Langley Memorial Award is named after Earl Higgins and Jeffrey
Langley. Higgins, a writer and filmmaker, lost his life in 1980 while attempting
to rescue a child caught in a flood-swollen Los Angeles River. Langley was
a firefighter/ paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, who
lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993.
Excerpted from LINK with permission from the Calgary Fire Department
Transport Canada announces 2004 Marine Safety Awards
For their efforts to improve safety standards and dangerous work environments
on board fishing vessels, George Chafe and Charles Roberts were presented
with Transport Canada's 2004 award for outstanding contribution to Canadian
Presented at the biannual meeting of the Canadian
Marine Advisory Council by former Transport Minister Tony Valeri,
the award was deserved because "Mr. Chafe and Mr. Roberts have demonstrated
exception commitment to the fishing industry over the past 20 years."
The award was established in 1997 to increase awareness of marine safety
in Canada and to recognize those who have made an exceptional contribution
to this objective.
Canadian Safe Boating Awards
Presented at the Canadian Safe Boating Council
dinner in early 2004, the sixth annual Canadian Safe Boating Awards (CASBAs),
recognized those who have made a difference in boating safety.
The 2003 winners and their categories include:
The CASBAs were developed to honour the people, programs, organizations
and marinas that are helping to make boating in Canada safer and better
for everyone and to keep the environment clean.
- Heather McDonald, Safe Boater of the Year
- Michael and Will Pratt, Canadian Power and Sail Squadron's "Rescue
of the Year"
- Greg Meaker, Marine Professional of the Year
- Austin Gilbert, Top Volunteer Dedicated to Safe Boating
- La Fédération québécoise du canot et du
kayak, Best Boating Safety Campaign
- Ontario Marine Operators Association, Environmental Campaign of the
- Fox 40, Best New Marine Safety Product
- Monto Reno Marina, Green Marina Environmental Initiative Award
- Salus, Marine Manufacturers Award
- Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, Special Recognition Award
- Natasha Fudge, Special Recognition Award
- Edmonton Squadron of the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, Special
To learn more about the CASBAs, visit the Canadian Safe Boating Council
website at www.csbc.ca.
Two volunteers commended for daring hovercraft rescue
by Patrick Ciavaglia
A member of the Barachois
Search and Rescue Team of Nfld. and a local volunteer firefighter
received Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commanding Officer's Commendations
for a daring hovercraft rescue Feb. 7, 2004.
On April 13, 2004, team member Pat McCarthy and firefighter Peter Hall
were presented with the award for saving three snowmobilers' lives after
their machines became half-submerged in Bay St. George on the west coast
of Nfld. Both men braved white-out conditions and the risk of being swept
into open water, which was only 15 feet from the rescue site. Hall was
forced to stand in the freezing, slushy water for 40 minutes while McCarthy
shuttled the three victims to shore, one-by-one, in the two-seater hovercraft.
Barachois team purchased the hovercraft with their own money for just such
a situation. They raised $10,000 by holding "the usual fundraisers"
and contracting out their parking and traffic control services at community
The used hovercraft underwent minor repairs and had a new skirt installed
before delivery to the Barachois team two years ago.
103 Squadron wins Laureate award
The five crew members of the Gander, Nfld. 103
Search and Rescue Squadron have been recognized a second time for
their January 2003 rescue of the Finnish freighter Camilla.
Awarded the Laureate award from aviation industry magazine, Aviation
Week and Space Technology, the crew is the first in Canada to
win in the category of Operations.
Major Gilbert Thibault, Captain Andrew Mercer, Master Corporal Rob Vidito,
Sergeant Emilio Dechantal and Master Corporals Dave Cooper and Scott Elliston
received the award in April 2004 and were inducted into the Laureate Hall
of Fame at the Smithsonian National
Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
MCpl Scott Elliston described the mission as a difficult one, especially
because of the stormy weather conditions. The Cormorant was at risk of
hitting the drifting ship due to 70 km/h winds and 10 m waves crashing
over the deck, while it hovered for more than 70 minutes over the disabled
Past President of SAR Alberta wins NASAR award
Corporal John Rotheisler of 4
Wing Cold Lake and past President of the Search
and Rescue Association of Alberta, was recognized at the 2004 National
Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) Conference for his work
in search and rescue.
Cpl. Rotheisler won the NASAR State/Canadian Province Award "in recognition
of the exemplary dedication and consummate professionalism exhibited through
involvement in national, provincial and local search and rescue organizations
and community groups."
In 2003, Cpl. Rotheisler was the recipient of a Certificate of Achievement
from the National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
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