Jack Buchanan (left) and Craig Barlow, both volunteers for more than 20 years, are looking for new recruits to join Metchosin Search and Rescue in 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

Metchosin SAR team seeks recruits to join the ‘high-pressure puzzle’ in 2020

A 20-year volunteer reminds hikers of some basics

Jack Buchanan gets a rush of adrenaline every time he is called to rescue someone.

He doesn’t know whether he’ll spend 10 minutes, a couple of hours, or multiple days looking for an individual or group that desperately needs help.

“It’s a high-pressure puzzle trying to figure out where the pieces fit,” said Buchanan, search manager of the Metchosin Search and Rescue (SAR) team. “You try to get into the mind of a hiker thinking where they would have gone.”

As a volunteer for the past 20 years, Buchanan pointed out that the biggest mistake people often make is misjudging sunset.

RELATED: West Shore RCMP spend four hours searching for roving hikers

ALSO READ: West Shore RCMP find lost hiker in Thetis Lake Park five hours after reported missing

It’s a matter of being prepared for any situation, by not forgetting basic items such as food, clothes, and a flashlight. Most of the work Metchosin SAR does consists of urban ground searching or searching in suburban areas of town.

“We’re rarely hanging people off of helicopters and pulling them off of cliffs,” Buchanan said.

It takes a dedicated team to cover more areas and make the task easier, and they’re looking for like-minded volunteers.

Typically, the team trains on the first Tuesday evening of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. and every fourth Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until the early afternoon.

Tuesdays are for classwork and Saturdays are for fieldwork.

Potential members are expected to attend at least 70 per cent of training to get the chance to meet the group. Also, each person would be expected to have a ready pack with enough gear to survive 24 hours outside.

READ MORE: LETTER: Reader laments loss of local search and rescue, praises Metchosin

On top of regular training, new members are required to complete a 70-hour Ground Search and Rescue course. Their next course is in fall 2020, but that doesn’t stop Buchanan from looking for new recruits.

“Knowing that you’ll be able to reunite someone with their family and friends is the sort of high we’re all looking for,” Buchanan said. “It gives you a great feeling of relief knowing you’ve found someone and that they are safe.”

Metchosin SAR holds an orientation session for interested members on Jan. 18, 2020. Register at metchosin.sar@gmail.com by Jan. 10.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

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Metchosin Search and Rescue is looking for new recruits for their team in 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

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