A new website, a new executive and much more!
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Saskatoon Search & Rescue

February 2014 Newsletter

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What's Happening 


There are lots of "new" things going on!

We have a new website. See more about this below

We have a new executive. Thank you to everyone who put their names forward! There was lots of other news from the Annual General Meeting.

A new group of candidates started the new Basic Searcher Course format that is being conducted over a four-month period. Due to -40C wind chill they didn't make it outside for the first field day but were still able to learn a lot inside. Thanks to Jarod Harvey and Kent Orosz for instructing the first sessions on January 2 and 4. 

And we attended a couple new-to-us events:

Thanks to Jarod Harvey and Shelley Ballard-McKinlay for setting up and staffing our display at the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour that was held in Saskatoon on January 13. Over 1,500 people were in attendance and this was a great opportunity for recruiting and public awareness. Thank to the Alpine Club of Canada - Saskatchewan Section for hosting the event and inviting us to attend. 

On January 26, five members provided first aid duties at the Potash Corp Skating Party at the Meewasin Skating Rink. Again, this was a great event to provide public awareness about our group. Thanks to Rick Barsky, Sherry Buller, Henry Eng, Stephnie Watson and Shelley Ballard-McKinlay for attending. 

Check out our training and events schedule and start putting some dates on your calendar!

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!

A New Look

For SSAR's Website

The SSAR website has received an Extreme Makeover! But there is still a lot of work to be done. We'll be expanding upon some of the existing basic information and adding educational resources for both SAR members and the public. If you have some ideas for the resource and education pages, please send them to the Communications Director

The calendar feature is very user-friendly so if you're ever wondering what's coming up or need a reminder of training dates, this is the place to go. You can view it in list or calendar format, or by type of event (e.g. training, meetings, events).

Also new to the website is a blog which will include reports and photos on events, training and whatever else we want it to. You can subscribe to the blog in order to receive posts by email as they are published. (Form at bottom left of any page on the website.)

Any and all feedback is welcome in order to make this a useful and relevant site. 

SSAR Annual General Meeting

New Executive and More!

SSAR's Annual General Meeting was held January 30. We had a great turnout of members and it was very motivating to look back over the year and see how much we've accomplished. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make a successful organization and there is no doubt this will continue with the enthusiasm of those who stepped up, some for the first time, to take on an executive position. 

Thank you so much to outgoing President Kent Orosz who led SSAR for the past three years. We're happy Kent is not leaving the executive totally and is simply moving to a different role. 

Thanks also to outgoing Training Director Dale Johnstone, Fundraising Director Chris Franko and Director at Large Jeff Bogdan for all their work and accomplishments during their time on the executive. 

Please welcome the new executive:

President: Jeff Baxter
Vice President: Shelley Ballard-McKinlay
Secretary: Kent Orosz
Treasurer: Rebecca Basset
Membership Director: Jarod Harvey
Fundraising Director: vacant
Training Director: Rebecca Basset
Communications Director: Shelley Ballard-McKinlay
PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue) Director: Rod Miskolczi
Logistics Director: Henry Eng
Directors at Large: Floyd Besserer, Nelson Martel, Sean Taylor, Mark Wells

Some of the highlights from 2013 and from the AGM are as follows:
  • The number of hours (3433) our members put into training, administrative duties and other activities in 2013 was quite impressive! 
  • Basic Searcher and Team Leader courses were revamped. This has strengthened both Team Leader and Basic Searcher capabilities by utilizing more practical exercises and putting responsibility on Leader candidates to teach certain topics.
  • The Team Leader development/mentoring program is moving forward.
  • We are continuing to build procedures in the Search Manager position in order to streamline the first couple hours of activation.
  • Two major joint training exercises (one in May and one in October) with our agencies of jurisdiction were hugely successful and SSAR received very positive feedback about our involvement and capabilities.
  • We have continued to strengthen relationships with our agencies of jurisdiction by meeting with and keeping in contact on a regular basis.
  • We were able to purchase GPS units and accessories with a grant from Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation.
  • We are in a reasonably good position financially due to following a set budget and a successful annual fundraising dinner.
  • We started providing first aid services for events such as the Dirty Donkey Run. We receive an honorarium and, at the same time, our members gain valuable experience.
  • Members passed motions for changes to the SSAR constitution and to apply for charitable status.
  • An ambitious strategic plan has been developed and it will up to the new executive to finalize this document by setting priorities, timelines and responsibilities.
  • We presently have 28 search capable members and six members-in-training. 

Training and Events

Monthly Training Meetings

All Thursday evening training sessions are held at the Fire Training Centre, 114 Ave W S, unless otherwise specified. Field days are generally held the following Saturday.
  • February 6 - 7 pm - Track 1: Basic Searcher Course. Track 2: Tasks and training in preparation for the May joint training exercise with the Saskatoon Police Service, held in conjunction with National Emergency Preparedness Week and Provincial Missing Persons Week. 
  • February 8 - Field Day - 9 am - 5 pm at 33rd Street and Range Road 3073. In addition to the training day some members will be staying out overnight, weather permitting. This is not part of the training day but will provide an opportunity for members to practice their winter survival skills and socialize at the same time.
  • March 6 - 7 pm - Track 1: Basic Searcher Course. Track 2: Tasks and training in preparation for the May joint training exercise.  
  • March 8 - Field Day - location to be determined.
A full list of training dates for the next several months can be found on the calendar page of our website.

Family Day Skating Party

SSAR will be providing first aid service at the Cameco Family Day Skating Party at the Meewasin Skating Rink on Monday, February 17 from noon - 4 pm. Come and join the festivities!

Search Dog Basics Seminar

A "Search Dog Basics" seminar will be held Friday (evening), June 20 to Sunday, June 22 at the Sondog Agility Centre in Saskatoon. The seminar is open to everyone: those interested in working a search dog one day or those just wanting to try something different with their dog. Subjects include K-9 scent, environment and search theory; clue/evidence search; live person search; and alert training. Tuition is $250 for dog and handler or $125 for observers. The course is offered by Precision Search Dog and instructed by Mary-Ann Warren of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Alberta. More information is available on the Precision Search Dog website.

Executive and Directors Meeting

The next SSAR Executive and Directors meeting will be held on Thursday, February 27, starting at 7 pm. 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.

Activation Summary

January 10

Saskatoon Search and Rescue was activated on the night of January 10 by Saskatoon Police Service. The call was for a 64-year-old woman who was diabetic and suffering from mental health issues. Her family was extremely worried about her. It was just after midnight, January 11, when the activation went out. The first SSAR members were on scene within 20 minutes and six members were on site within the hour at which time we were advised that the woman had been located. Police had taken several steps, including issuing a media release, and an alert member of the public provided information that assisted in locating the woman.

Each time we are called out, it is a valuable experience. We learn new things each and every time and are able to continuously improve our response.

Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos

And Other Cool Stuff

field repair buckle

Unless you've got a fairly major repair kit with you, it's pretty much impossible to repair a broken buckle in the great outdoors. Well, the impossible has become possible. Get yourself a couple of these field repair buckles from Sea to Summit (look under "pack accessories").  

esbit stoveLooking for an emergency camp stove to take on a ultra-light backpacking trip, day hike or to put in your emergency preparedness kit? Look no further than the Esbit Pocket Stove. Although its use is somewhat limited (burn time per fuel tablet is about 12 minutes), it can certainly boil water, it's super lightweight, easy to use, gets great reviews, and you can't beat the low price. 
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