PENSAR can respond with a variety of 4×4 rescue units. Once the road ends, PENSAR can deploy one of 3 rescue-equiped UTVs from John Deere and Honda. In the winter, PENSAR has access to snowmobiles and other tracked vehicles.
GROUND SEARCH AND RESCUE
All PENSAR members complete the 70 hour GSAR certification, which covers interviewing, map & compass, communication, survival, basic rope & stretcher evacuation, tracking and other lifesaving skills. We practice these skills weekly to remain ready to respond at any time, 24 x 7 x 365.
HIGH ANGLE ROPE RESCUE
Our team will respond to rescues on any angle of terrain up to vertical. Our team maintains certifications in technical rope access and rescue to team leader level.
Every member of the team maintains certification in wilderness first aid, and the team includes paramedics and physicians. Our medical equipment includes specific backcountry first aid and advanced care equipment.
NATURAL DISASTER / FIRE RESPONSE
The team is trained in evacuation and disaster support to assist communities in the event of wildfire, floods or other natural disasters
Ice fishing, skating and snowmobile operations are common in BC. When someone breaks through the ice, PENSAR’s flat ice rescue technicians are able to respond in to this life threatening emergency.
MARINE RESCUE / RECOVERY
To provide rescue coverage of the Okanagan lakes, PENSAR maintains specialized equipment for marine response including a 24-foot full size aluminum rescue vessel along with trained crews to rescue across the lakes in our vicinity.
SWIFT WATER RESCUE
Penticton Search and Rescue members are part of the regional swiftwater emergency response.
Our teams are equipped and trained for responses to flooding and other natural disasters as well as for rescue and safety in and around the river.
HELICOPTER EXTERNAL TRANSPORT SYSTEM (HETS)
HETS is a type of helicopter rescue where a one or more rescuers and subjects are slung on a line attached to a helicopter. PENSAR has found that this technique to be very effective allowing rescuers into areas where tall trees prevent the helicopter from landing or allowing SAR members to hover exit which is critical when rescuing subjects in high, glaciated and mountainous terrain.
This technique speeds up access, delivers first aid, and transports subjects to definitive medical treatment faster
PENSAR’s HETS program has been in operation for over a decade with countless rescues to its credit. To be agile and effective we utilize the services of 2 local Helicopter operators which gives us 24-7 availability.
SEARCH AND RESCUE MANAGEMENT
With all of these rescue techniques, there has to be some organization behind it all, and that is the role of the SAR Manager. Far from being paid, PENSAR has a cadre of these individuals who are experienced searchers who had risen through the ranks to become trained incident commanders, proficient in understanding maps, search theory, and the tactics and strategies to locate and rescue those person(s) in need.
PENSAR’s trained managers are all certified in Search Management and Incident Command System (ICS), which provides them the tools to work side by side with the RCMP, BC Emergency Health Service, BC Coroner’s service and other emergency responders. Our managers are responsible for the safety of their team.
PENSAR has the capability to establish and maintain communications with field teams anywhere in the Okanagan. To this end, we maintain fixed repeater stations, portable repeater and command stations and a Mobile Command Centre to support safe search and rescue operations in the rugged and often remote backcountry terrain.