Central Okanagan Search and Rescue (COSAR) volunteers were kept busy through 2020.
The team responded to 81 emergencies, a record-high compared to the usual average of 60 responses. August was the busiest month with 16 calls. The team also recovered four bodies over the course of the year.
“Although COVID19 may be behind the increase in outdoor recreationists, the team also responded to a record number of urban searches for distraught individuals and missing seniors and children,” COSAR stated in a media release.
Ten calls were to support other jurisdictions, including assisting the Penticton RCMP with evacuations from the Christie Mountain wildfire in August and searching for a missing hiker in Manning Park in October and November.
The team gained 14 regular members in 2020 and one four-legged member. Chase, a two-year-old Labrador retriever who is an RCMP certified civilian search and rescue dog, also joined the ranks.
Nearly $30,000 in public donations helped keep the team in operation, including $15,000 from the Central Okanagan Foundation and $2,500 from ReMax. The rest of the donations came from the public via a donation button on cosar.ca. The money was used for first aid and rope team training, a TrailRider wheeled chair, and a new snowmobile.
For the new year, COSAR said its goals include finding a new operations base closer to the city centre and having fewer calls to respond to. For more information on how to stay safe in the outdoors, visit cosar.ca.
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