It’s been a busy year for Royal Canadian Air Force search and rescue (SAR) personnel across Canada.
Between January and November 2012, crews conducted 953 SAR missions; in November alone, they were tasked 61 times: 22 in the Victoria, B.C., SAR region, 17 in the Trenton, Ont., region and 22 in Halifax, N.S.
The Joint Rescue and Coordination Centre and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), work together to heighten their ability to respond to SAR incidents during specific periods each year, in consultation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other agencies.
For example, in support of the opening of the lobster fishery areas in districts 33 and 34 (Halifax and southern Nova Scotia) on 27 November, 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron, 14 Wing Greenwood, N.S., had rescue crews on a heightened 30 minute standby posture. On the opening day of lobster season, fishers set out to place their traps. Because of the increase in maritime traffic, SAR crews maintained this heightened standby posture for precautionary reasons.
In Canada, SAR is an integrated service delivered by the Canadian Forces (CF), the CGG, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other federal, provincial, municipal and volunteer organizations. The CF has the primary responsibility for delivery of aeronautical SAR service. Primary responsibility for maritime SAR is shared by the CF and the CCG. The CF maintains a high standard of service in SAR operations; crews are on standby 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
The Canadian SAR area of responsibility is divided into three SAR regions: Victoria, B.C., Trenton, Ont., and Halifax, N.S., amounting to more than 18 million square kilometres of land and sea – an area one-and-a-half times that of Canada’s landmass.
Each area has a supporting Joint Rescue Coordination Centre staffed by CF and CCG personnel to coordinate aeronautical and marine SAR operations in response to incidents in their area of responsibility.
In order to maintain their proficiency, SAR crews at local RCAF wings train every day and come together every year to participate in the National SAREX, which was held this year in October.
For more information about search and rescue in Canada, please visit:
CJOC backgrounder – www.cjoc.forces.gc.ca/cont/search-recherche/index-eng.asp
National Search and Rescue Secretariat – www.nss.gc.ca/
Canadian Coast Guard SAR – www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/ccg/sar_main
RCMP SAR – www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ccaps-spcca/rs-eng.htm
Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada – http://www.sarvac.ca/