SAR orange. Money matters. Great training opportunities.
View this email in your browser

Saskatoon Search & Rescue

June 2013 Newsletter

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Email Us

What's Happening This Month


There are a ton of things happening in the near future! Near-water training, navigation training, promotional events, a Team Leader Course and much more. Check out the Training and Events section and let us know when and where you can help out. 

Money matters for the smooth operation and advancement of SSAR. 

Rebecca Basset -- Is SAR orange your favourite colour? 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos - Lifestraw and a gear checklist app.

What else would you like to see in the SSAR newsletter? Do you have something that should be included next month? Please email the Communications Director with your ideas, comments and feedback. Thanks!


For Helping Out

We had a great training event on May 10-11. Thank you to everyone who helped make the days a success.
  • Kent Orosz for overall organization of the training days.
  • Callum Baxter who played the role of one of our missing people.
  • Members of the Saskatoon Police Service who came out Friday night and those who helped in other aspects -- Cst. Ben White, Cst. Ryan White, Cst. Rich Shirran, Cst. Ryan Shwydiuk, Cst. Vince Gabruch, Cst. Eric Flogan, Sgt. Lee Jones, Alyson Edwards and Kelsie Fraser. 
  • EMO Manager Ray Unrau and EMO Coordinator Anthony Tataryn for the Fire Command bus, radios and general support.
  • Greystone Heights School for the use of their parking lot.
  • Citizens of the Greystone Heights neighbourhood who put up with all our questions and gave us "clues" to locate our missing people.
  • U of S Horticulture for use of their fields.
  • North Corman Park SAR members who attended the training. 
Special thanks to all the Saskatoon Search and Rescue members. We learn so much from these events and are continuously proving we are growing as a team and as a chapter. Every training day helps us be more prepared and skilled for when we are really needed. 

Training and Events

Monthly Training Meetings

  • Thursday, June 6 - Near Water Strike Team training. 1900 hrs at 116 Avenue W S. 
  • Sunday, June 9 - Field day 0800-1300 hrs. As many of the areas we may be called to operate in would be near water (e.g. South Saskatchewan River), SSAR has developed an internal certification that all members must complete in order to work within 5m of any body of water. The course covers our procedures, safety and usage of the chapter-owned equipment that is issued to Near Water Strike Teams during an exercise or activation. Attendance at both sessions is required for certification.
Following the training we will have a family picnic near one of the fire pits by the playground/washroom facilities at Meewasin Park (entrance on Spadina). Those attending should bring their own meat and beverages (no liquor) and a potluck dish to share. Please RSVP so we have a general sense of attendance. 
  • Thursday, July 11 - Basic Navigation Training (Session 1) 
  • Thursday, August 8 - Basic Navigation Training (Session 2) 

Navigation is a critical skill for everyone involved in Search and Rescue so we will work on some basics using map, compass and GPS. July will focus on map and compass skills and August will focus on navigation using GPS devices. Both sessions are from 1900 - 2130 hrs and location will be determined. 

SARSAV Meeting

The SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) quarterly meeting will be held on Saturday, June 8, starting at 0930 at the Travelodge Hotel in Saskatoon. All current members of Saskatchewan SAR chapters are welcome to attend.  

Promotional Events

There are several summer events coming up that will provide great promotional opportunities for SSAR. Volunteers are required! Please let us know your availability.
  • Saturday, July 13 – We have been asked to assist with safety aspects of the Swamp Donkey Adventure Race being held at Blackstrap. Details about task and duration are unknown at this time, but as soon as we know more we will let you know.
  • Tuesday, July 16 – SSAR and other emergency services will set up displays at the Police Week barbecue in front of the Saskatoon Police Service, 130 4th Avenue N. We need at least two SSAR members to be there from approximately 1000 – 1400 hrs with our command trailer. Duties include promoting SSAR with the public, handing out information and membership brochures and other giveaways.
  • Saturday, August 3 – SSAR will be applying for entry into the Saskatoon Exhibition Parade. Members are required to help decorate on Friday, August 2, and to take part in the parade from approximately 0900 – 1200 hrs on Saturday. If you have a good imagination and ideas for our entry, we’d love to hear from you sooner rather than later!

Team Leader Course

A team leader course is being planned for September 2013. This is the first course we have hosted since February 2012 so everyone who is at all interested is encouraged to sign up for the course. Although completion of the course certifies you to act as a Team Leader during exercises and activations, taking the course does not mean you have to do that. In many ways the course can be looked at as an extended Basic Searcher Course. During the four-day course topics such as search tactics, the basics of lost person behavior and much more are covered. Anyone looking to expand their knowledge of Search and Rescue beyond the Basic Searcher Course should attend.

The course will be held in early September over 2 evenings (classroom), and a  Saturday field day that will run overnight into a second field day on Sunday, with everything wrapping up mid-afternoon. This is a much more compressed approach than we have done in the past with a larger outdoor/practical component.

The tentative dates are:

  • Thursday, Sept 5 (classroom)
  • Friday, Sept 13 (classroom)
  • Saturday Sept 14 to Sunday Sept 15 (field portion overnight)

If you are interested in signing up for the course or have questions, please email us.

2013-14 Training Calendar

The Training Committee met recently to discuss the 2013-14 Training Calendar. In past years we have come up with a plan for training events that runs from June of the current year to May of the following year finishing up with a large exercise during the national Emergency Preparedness Week. The purpose of the training calendar is to show the chapter the overall plan for the year, to help recruit people willing and able to assist in delivering the training and to let everyone know what the training dates are well in advance so people can make arrangements to ensure they are able to attend.

This year we will be doing things a little bit differently. We have set dates for training until May 2014, but there are many open slots in the training plan.

There are two primary goals of our annual training plans:

1. Ensure that chapter members maintain the necessary certifications and capacity in core skills.

2. Develop and grow the capacity of the chapter and individual members through training.

At this point we can schedule training to meet the first goal but not the second. There are some discussions that will be taking place over the next few months around the goals of the chapter in the next few years and we want to ensure the training is aligned with the chapter’s strategic plan. We also need to plan training opportunities after the SARSAV Search Manager course for any SSAR members who take that course. The committee felt that it would be better to pick dates and leave the topics open at this point, rather than slot things in and have to change them down the road.  A summary of the plan as it stands will be sent out to all members and updates will come out with the monthly newsletters.

Please contact the Training Director, Dale Johnstone, if you have any questions.

SARSAV Conference & Games

The SARSAV (Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers) Conference and Games have been scheduled for Sept. 27-29, 2013, near Blackstrap Lake. The course itinerary is still being developed so watch for more information in the coming months. This is the first provincial SAR conference in Saskatchewan since 2008 and is sure to be informative and fun, and it presents a great opportunity to get to know your fellow SAR volunteers from around the province!

June Executive & Directors Meeting 

The next SSAR Executive and Directors meeting is scheduled for June 27, starting at 1900 hrs. These are the business-style meetings of our chapter and are held the last Thursday of each month. All members are welcome to attend. If you would like to speak to an issue concerning SSAR, please notify the President prior to the meeting so time can be allotted on the agenda. 

If you would like a copy of the minutes from any past Executive and Directors meetings, please email us. 

Money Matters

For SSAR Operations

The SSAR operational budget has been approved by the Executive for the 2013-14 year. Our membership base is growing and the executive has a long list of training and operational goals we hope to achieve in the coming months and years.  

In addition to this growth, our group is also now responsible for maintaining and utilizing our command trailer for training and operations. With all growth there is an inevitable increase in the need for operational funds.  

In the past our organization has operated on a very minimal budget and oftentimes the generous contributions of its own members. Unfortunately, the membership fees collected each year cover only the basic cost of our chapter obligations and minimal training for each member and therefore cannot be relied on for funding operational costs.  

One undeniable need our chapter has is operational funds.  As with all non-profit groups, fundraising is vital to the health and success of the organization. Our chapter is at a critical point where the need for fundraising is a top priority. Without future funds, all our growth potential, training opportunities and operational effectiveness will be limited. 

Our Fundraising Director, Chris Franko, has put out a general request to the membership for assistance in forming a committee dedicated to identifying, organizing and implementing fundraising opportunities. Once this committee is formed, all of our assistance will be needed to support their planned endeavours. Please contact Chris if you are willing to help on the Fundraising Committee or have any unique ideas for raising funds.

If any member in good standing wishes to see the financial statements they may request that information from the Treasurer, Rebecca Basset

As fundraising efforts develop, the membership will be informed and your participation & support is greatly appreciated!

Member Profile

Rebecca Basset

What’s your favourite colour? If you’re a Search & Rescue member and it’s orange, you’re in luck. Unfortunately, Rebecca Basset is not such a person. Orange is definitely not a favoured colour but it’s growing on her and since joining SSAR in September 2011 her wardrobe colours have expanded. 

First Aid InstructionRebecca is the owner of Everyday First Aid Training. Rather than simply providing certification courses she targets first aid instruction to specific purposes. For example, it’s most important for new moms to learn baby CPR and information on child-specific injuries and ailments.

Her first aid interest and expertise guided Rebecca to become involved in Search and Rescue when she was living in Lac La Biche, Alberta. She was looking for a volunteer opportunity that she felt had purpose and joined Little Divide Search and Rescue for a year before moving to Saskatoon with her husband Jeremy and children Bailey (6) and Morgan (5).

With no previous outdoor experience, Rebecca was surprised to learn that she really likes being outdoors, camping and going on adventures. On last year’s frigid January winter campout with SSAR she was excited when her first attempt at building a shelter out of willow branches and a tarp turned into a comfy sleeping spot. It was also a confidence builder for other SAR activities – although she says her navigation skills need a little work.

Being a Search and Rescue team in Saskatchewan means we don’t get as many calls as our counterparts in B.C. or Alberta. So when a training day last year suddenly turned into a “real” search at the request of the Saskatoon Police Service, Rebecca and her team sheepishly had to phone back to the Command Post to admit they’d forgotten to take a radio, they didn’t pick up the near-water search gear they were supposed to have, and they had to borrow equipment from another team. Will the Search Managers ever let her forget this?

In addition to being a Team Leader, Rebecca is SSAR’s resident First Aid Instructor and helps build realistic and relevant first aid scenarios into each training day. Rebecca has also served on the SSAR Executive for two years, first as Membership Director and now as Treasurer.Bailey, Morgan, Rebecca

SSAR is something that Rebecca says, “It’s mine. It’s something for me.” But she’s also passing on knowledge to her girls (they carry their own backpacks and a bit of gear on every outing) and instilling them with confidence and an appreciation of the outdoors.

Amongst friends, Rebecca is known as the “mother” and the “organizer.” Keeping in touch with people, even through changes in residence or work, is important to her. She also “spends way too much time in the kitchen” and SSAR members have benefited from this on occasion with yummy healthy snacks at our meetings. And although she’s “a white girl with no ear for a tune” and her singing engagements have thus far been limited to her shower, she might be able to teach you a '90s rap song or two if you ask nicely.

Above: Rebecca teaching first aid to SSAR members.
Right: Bailey, Morgan, Rebecca and their backpacks.

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos

And Other Cool Stuff

Need a light weight (2 oz) water filter for emergency purposes or headed  somewhere with questionable water quality? Lifestraw was named "Best Invention of the Year" and won an award for "World Changing Ideas." At least one of our members has one in their SAR kit. 

Stop printing off gear lists! Try the Camp and Hike Checklist. Design your own gear lists, move things around to develop new lists for specific trips, check things off as you pack, and do much more with this app. You can even share lists with your friends. I've used it a few times now for SAR exercises and really like it. Sorry Android folks, it's only available in iPhone and iPad versions although the developer is starting a Kindle version as well. If you have a similar Android app that you'd like featured, send me the information. 

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos is a regular newsletter section featuring a couple of items that SSAR members find useful. Got something you think others would like to hear about? Please email the Communications Director.

Forward to Friend

Copyright © 2013 Saskatoon Search and Rescue, All rights reserved.

subscribe to this list     unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp