A Record-Breaking Time on the Rock!
SARSCENE 99 - Leading SAR into the Next Millennium
was the eighth
annual search and rescue workshop hosted by the National Search and
Rescue Secretariat. It was held 13-17 October in St. John's Newfoundland.
Combining presentations, outdoor demonstrations and lots of social events,
the workshop was a great success. A record 702 participants from across
North America, Europe and Asia enjoyed the opportunity to share their
knowledge and experience with members of volunteer, provincial/territorial
and federal SAR organizations.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association welcomed
the SAR community by providing countless hours of planning, enthusiastic
volunteers and outstanding resources for the workshop.
SARSCENE Workshops have become the setting for the annual meetings
of several SAR organizations. This year was no exception, and the days
surrounding official SARSCENE events featured meetings for:
- Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC)
- The William G. Syrotuck Symposium
- A joint Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary/Canadian Coast Guard
- Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA)
This year's opening ceremonies featured an inspiring story of survival.
documentary film recounted the experiences of Lucy Harris who, in 1936
survived an amazing 11 nights and 10 days lost in the woods near New
Melbourne, Newfoundland. "The Lucy Harris Story", featuring
family and some of the community who searched for her, reminded all
SARSCENE participants to never give up. We were fortunate enough
have Lucy and her family attend the opening ceremonies and to witness
special reunion between Lucy and Mrs. McNamara, the nurse who cared for
her in St. John's 63 years ago.
Popular workshop sessions included:
- Swissair Flight 111 track (featuring RCC Halifax, Canadian Coast
Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary, RCMP and Nova Scotia EMO)
- GPS and Digital Mapping - Greg Ursel, CARES
Tracking - Everett Savary, Halifax Regional SAR
- National Film Board of Canada Premiere of LOST
- Mapping Exercise - Chris Long, Washington State and Rick Lavalla,
- SAR Interviewing and Investigating Skills - Mike Doyle, SARBC
- K9 Unit Management: Leadership Strategies for the 21st Century -
Jonni Joyce, K9 Capers
This year marked a turn to more hands-on, practical sessions and from
accounts the change was appreciated. We look forward to offering even
more hands-on sessions next year.
The SARSCENE trade show featured 45 booths representing a wide
of SAR services, products and companies. Many of the trade show
exhibitors donated items to the silent auction, organized by the
Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association. The auction
was very successful, raising over $3 000 for SAR teams in Newfoundland
The SARSCENE Games were held for a third year with Marathon
Emergency Services earning first place honours for the second time. The
CF SAR Techs came in second followed by the Triple Bay Eagles of
Clarenville, NF. Held at the Sunshine Camp, the games saw 12 teams from
all over Canada competing on an outdoor course (on a very chilly day).
Competitors and spectators not only enjoyed seeing skills put to the test
but were also treated to a mooseburger barbecue!
SARSCENE wasn't all work and no play. To officially welcome
Newfoundland, a mass Screech-in was held, hosted by Harry Strong, CEO
of the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary. A select list of guests (victims)
screeched-in in fine style, and in front of hundreds of witnesses.
The 1999 Outstanding SAR Achivement Awards Banquet honoured Lloyd
Gallagher, formerly of the Kananaskis Country Public Safety Program
outstanding career in mountain rescue, the development of the K-Country
program and his pioneering work in heli-sling rescue. Certificates
Achievement in SAR were awarded to:
- Douglas E. Betts, CASARA Nova Scotia
- Harry Blackmore, 6th St. John's Rovers and Newfoundland and
Labrador SAR Association
- Halifax Regional Search and Rescue Team
- Martin Colwell, Lion's Bay Search and Rescue
The Newfoundland crew also put together outstanding outdoor
demonstrations, battling lots of logistics and that famous Newfoundland
wind! A cliff rescue demonstration was held at Cuckold's Cove and featured
transfer of the victim from the cliff to a fast rescue craft and then
helicopter. (Special thanks to Don Blakely, Vernon SAR for volunteering
be dangled off a cliff!)
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Tactical Team no doubt surprised
some hotel guests as they rappelled down the side of the Delta Hotel.
residents living near Qidi Vidi Lake must have wondered what was
happening when they saw a helicopter from 103 Rescue Squadron in
Gander landing in the lake, one from Cougar Helicopter hoisting people
of the lake and another from Universal Helicopters lifting a stretcher
The one thing that never changes about SARSCENE is the amount
involved in making it happen. Special thanks are extended to:
- The Newfoundland and Labrador SAR Association (especially Harry
Blackmore and Barry Nash)
- The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) (especially Sgt. Kevin
- 103 Rescue Squadron, Gander
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Canadian Coast Guard
- The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary
- The Delta Hotel & Conference Centre
- Workshop Volunteers
- and really special thanks to our many speakers.