Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue operations here in the community are a co-ordinated effort between the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Search and Rescue Unit and Pikwàkanagàn members of the Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association (OSARVA).

The primary objective of the Barron River Search and Rescue (BRSR) unit is to provide trained volunteers with suitable equipment to assist search and rescue operations as requested by police authorities and emergency services. BRSR is a volunteer agency and members do not receive any salary or wages. Annual meetings will help to ensure that training and plans are maintained. OSARVA provides training and certification for SAR units.

OSARVA is the Governing body for Volunteer Search and Rescue teams within the Province of Ontario and is the liaison between the OPP/NSS and EMO and the Volunteer SAR teams. The organization is comprised of 6 board members that represent the volunteer SAR teams within each of the six OPP designated regions for Ontario. OSARVA is also responsible for the instruction and certification of the "Level One Searcher" status as initiated and mandated by the OPP. For link to OSARVA: osarva.nt.net

The BRSR unit may be called for searches:
1. on request from any authorized member of a recognized Police Force
2. on request from the Military SAR Unit
3. on request from Emergency agency council

It is necessary for community search members to have SAR training to ensure any search is accomplished in the most methodical manner without damage to clues, tracks or scents. Communication with the Command Centre is imperative to keep track of which grids had been searched.

The Health Centre will function as Command Central for any emergency in the community. The Health Centre is fully equipped with space, trained employees, equipment, full kitchen and communications to assist any emergency. OSARVA members, which include many members of the Pikwàkanagàn Fire/Rescue Department, work together to co-ordinate any search under the direction of the OPP. OPP assistance may also include a canine unit and/or an aerial search by helicopter.

Medical care for injuries can be administered by Health Centre members. Greater injuries may require transport by ambulance to Pembroke General Hospital. Health Centre staff are trained to handle emergencies and have the necessary equipment.

Co-operation is paramount to the success of any SAR operation. OPP Search Co-ordinator Peter Graves said, “We’re only 6-7 men, we couldn’t have done all this on our own.” The OPP, BRSR members, and community members co-operate together to assist in any emergency. Community members have volunteered their time and energy to assist during emergencies. Food, water, snacks, insect repellent, signs, chairs, posters and more have all been arranged in the past by volunteers.