Members of the PEMO Search and Rescue Team volunteered more than 5,000 hours in 2019 (Twitter/PEMO Search and Rescue)

Members of the PEMO Search and Rescue Team volunteered more than 5,000 hours in 2019 (Twitter/PEMO Search and Rescue)

Peninsula Search and Rescue members volunteered more than 5,000 hours in 2019

Team responded to 19 search and rescue incidents last year

New figures show that volunteer members of the local search and rescue (SAR) team are putting in more and more hours.

Jeff Butcher, director of the SAR team part of Peninsula Emergency Measures Organization (PEMO), said team members volunteered more than 5,000 hours in 2019. This number, he added, has been rising steadily.

So what accounts for the increase?

“We have rebuilt the team [during the last six-and-a-half years] and the tasking agencies have much higher levels of comfort working with us,” he said. “We have established better contacts and we have educated and informed the tasking agencies how we can help. At same time, the other [research and rescue teams] have seen how well we have been training and have no problems calling for assistance from PEMO Search and Rescue.”

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The 20-member team — which will add seven members later this month — serves communities on the Saanich Peninsula including the District of Saanich.

Overall in 2019, the team responded to 19 search and rescue incidents, with 12 in its area of responsibility. Team members also assisted other SAR teams on Vancouver Island and on the Lower Mainland on seven other occasions.

PEMO consists of search and rescue, emergency support services, communications and the neighbourhood emergency preparedness program who serve North Saanich, Central Saanich and Sidney. They provide qualified volunteer support during times of emergency or major disaster to those municipalities.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com