At 4:20 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11 (afternoon of the long weekend) volunteers from Metchosin Search and Rescue knocked on my door showed me a picture of a woman and asking if we had seen her in our neighbourhood. She had been missing for 24 hours and spoke no English and they wanted to find her so she did not spend another night outside. They said they were also searching the trails and woods.
Good for them to come into the Cordova Bay neighbourhood from Metchosin and shame on us for disbanding the Saanich Search and Rescue program over a year ago.
Under the Saanich Emergency Program (directed by our Fire Department and financed in part by the Provincial Government) we have Emergency Social Services, a Neighbourhood Preparedness Program and Emergency Communications. Unlike all the surrounding municipalities the Search and Rescue component for the largest of the municipalities has been dropped by our Fire Department and Municipal Council and we have to rely on “mutual aid”. Good luck to us in an area wide emergency when no searchers outside our municipality are available. Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking our first responders will be able to handle all aspects in a major event when even a missing person search requires outside volunteers
Search and Rescue is still shown as a component on the Saanich Emergency Program web page but was disbanded.
The number of volunteers in all aspects of the Saanich program is in need of review upgrade and encouragement. Search and Rescue needs to be reinstated. It is a valuable component of an emergency program here in Saanich and as it is in all BC municipalities.