Get your tickets! SSAR Dinner Nov 16. 
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Saskatoon Search & Rescue

November 2013 Newsletter

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What's Happening 


October was an extremely busy month for Saskatoon Search and Rescue and the momentum into November is not slowing down as we prepare for wilderness first aid and scene management training and our 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner (Remember to get your tickets by November 7.)

Thank you again to the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation for their generous funding that allowed us to purchase GPS units which were then immediately used during Exercise Domino

The SARscene conference and games held in Chilliwack, BC, October 19-21 was a great success and an excellent opportunity for learning and for meeting with other SAR members from across the country. Look for a full report in next month's newsletter. 

Ladies . . . need a new jacket or boots? Check out the "For Sale" section below.

The monthly Member Profile feature and Gear, Gadgets, Gizmos section of the newsletter will return in future. 

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!

2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SSAR's 2nd Annual Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation. Tickets are $40 each or $280 for a table of eight. Children ages 5 and under are free and ages 6-10 are half price. The meal is buffet style with a wide selection of dishes. 

You must purchase tickets by November 7. Phone or text Rebecca at 306-280-9190 or email

Anthony Tataryn, Saskatoon Emergency Measures Organization Coordinator is the keynote speaker. Anthony was one of the original members of Saskatoon Search and Rescue and has been very supportive of our organization, especially since taking over the EMO Coordinator role. It will be interesting to hear his insights. 

We have some great silent auction items, raffle and door prizes including:  an iPad mini, a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger, compasses, kayak and canoe lessons from two different companies, a 13' trampoline with enclosure, several framed photographs, canvas photographs and paintings, an Adirondack chair, certificates for ride-alongs with Police and Fire, a backpack, certificate for furnace/duct cleaning, jewellery, personal care products, various clothing items, gift certificates and much more! 

Plan to attend! Invite friends, family, and businesses! This is SSAR's main fundraising event of the year so we need everyone's involvement to make it a success! 

Thank you so much to C95, Rock 102 and CKOM for their support and promotion of this event! 


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.
  • Thursday, November 7 - 7 pm. Group A (Basic Searchers and prospective members) will review wilderness first aid topics. Group B will be a Team Leader development session. 
  • Saturday, November 9 - Time and location to be announced. Participants will be given opportunities to practice first aid skills in wilderness scenarios. Team Leaders will be responsible for managing resources, scenes and communication.
  • Thursday, December 5 - 7 pm. General review and discussion on the last three months of training. Review of EMO exercise and the training leading up to it; debrief on the November first aid field day; review of an actual search.
  • No field day in December
  • January 2, 2014 - 7 pm. Preparation for the annual winter survival day.
  • January 4-5, 2014 - Field Day - Winter survival/operations day with overnight component.
A full list of training dates for the next several months can be found on the Training page of our website

Cabela's Hometown Heroes Event

SSAR members have been invited to Cabela's Hometown Heroes event on November 11 & 12. Just show your SSAR ID at check out and receive Cabela's employee discount on virtually everything in the store! 

What Are Your Risks? 

On November 21 KPMG and the United Way of Saskatoon are hosting a seminar specifically designed to address the operational and accounting needs of not-for-profit organizations. The seminar will highlight key risk areas that active board and audit committee members should focus on including financial reporting, internal control, governance and IT risks. This free event will be held at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel in Saskatoon. Breakfast 7:30 - 8 am; Presentation 8 - 9 am. Register online or for more information contact Brianna Bergeron at or 306-934-6263. 

Description: cid:image002.gif@01CDF8C3.6C48E480SSAR Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Saskatoon Search and Rescue will be held on Thursday, January 30, 2014, starting at 7:00 pm. All SSAR members are invited and strongly encouraged to attend. At this meeting we will be reviewing highlights of the past year, voting on policies and procedures adopted throughout the year and choosing the next Executive and Directors to lead the chapter into another year of growth and progress.

If you are interested in getting more involved in SSAR, please consider running for one of the positions. Email us for more information or a list of positions and job descriptions

Executive and Directors Meeting

The next SSAR Executive and Directors meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 28, 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.

Thank you! 

Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation who recently provided us with $4000 funding for the purchase of GPS units and accessories, including a laptop computer which will enhance our mapping abilities during an activation.

The timing of this addition to our equipment couldn't have been more perfect as we immediately utilized the GPS Units during "Exercise Domino." (See article below.) 

Generous donations such as this, as well as the funding provided last year by the Kinsmen Club of Saskatoon for the purchase of a command trailer, expand our ability to serve our community in an effective and professional manner. Thank you again! 

Exercise Domino

Preparing for Disaster

Written by Kent Orosz

Exercise Domino was a multi-agency exercise that involved 35 organizations in various capacities. The exercise was based on an all-hazards scenario involving mass evacuations, flooding, building collapse and high-angle rescues, among others.
In all of this, Saskatoon Search and Rescue was represented by 10 volunteers over two days, with over 150 hours logged by our members. On October 7 SSAR assisted Saskatoon Police Service in evacuating a number of buildings with both real and virtual subjects inside. On October 8 SSAR members were integrated into Task Forces with Saskatoon Fire & Protective Services' Technical Rescue personnel, paramedics from MD Ambulance, RCMP and SPS officers, and a variety of other agencies. Our roles started out as navigators but quickly grew to be valuable members of the task forces in other situations. Some of our members were tasked as “actors” in the scenarios.
SSAR's contribution to Exercise Domino was definitely recognized. During the debriefs, our organization got a number of positive mentions for our proficiency and professionalism throughout the exercise. These compliments have been earned through the training we have done over the past months in preparation of this exercise, as well as through our regular training focuses. We looked good out there! Without all the time we have put in attending our training sessions, this would have been a different story. 
Special mentions for the success of SSAR's showing go to Jeff Baxter, who was involved in the Command team both days and represented our chapter at planning meetings prior to the exercise, as well as Shelley Ballard-McKinlay for liaising with Saskatoon Police Service.
Good job everyone; we looked great out there!
Participants: Shelley Ballard-McKinlay, Rebecca Basset, Jeff Baxter, Henry Eng, Chris Franko, Jarod Harvey, Dale Johnstone, Kent Orosz, Diane VanBrabant, Mark Wells.

Command centre photo credit: Richard Marjan, The StarPhoenix
Member Comments on Exercise Domino:
Mark: "I went to work the night after Exercise Domino ended and a co-worker asked me what was new. I initially responded with, "I got to ride in the STARS helicopter . . . I was on a back-board which was a little uncomfortable and made it hard to see anything, but it was still super awesome!" Then I went on to talk about how I got to ride around in a van with Saskatoon Police Service members and help evacuate senior citizens who were a riot (one was flirting with one of the police, even though she thought the firefighter was "taller at least" than him if not more handsome; and another who forgot that he'd volunteered to come but was still willing to play along and come with us). Then I was “rescued” from a concrete tunnel by Fire and Protective Services. And got to see Fire cutting holes in buildings and generally doing spectacular things with all their 'toys.'  And you know, a helicopter ride too. I think a lot of people believe firefighters just sit around waiting for fires and police just drive around giving out tickets and arresting bad guys. This was a great chance to interact with people from these agencies and get a better look at just how diverse their professions really are."

Rebecca:  "This training exercise was a valuable learning experience and I am personally grateful for our involvement in it. There were so many things that we did that were new and valuable for skill development but being able to confidently navigate a rescue team using maps and GPS (which I really only started to learn this summer!) was a huge highlight of the two days for me. Being recognized as a valuable asset to the task force teams was a huge compliment and it just re-affirms that all the work we have done with training and building our relationships within this city has been essential. I am so very proud to be a volunteer member of Saskatoon Search and Rescue!" 

Shelley: "As a relatively new SSAR volunteer and a recently retired member of the Saskatoon Police Service, I was really pleased to see how well our two organizations worked together. I'm really looking forward to more joint training between all agencies."
Kent: "For me, the highlight of the past couple days was seeing all the people on teams working together to achieve common goals, no matter the colour their uniform. This is exactly how Task Forces are supposed to work. I was proud to be a part of it."

Activation Summary

October 1

Written by Kent Orosz

Saskatoon Search and Rescue was activated on the night of October 1 by Saskatoon Police Service. The call was for a 10 year old girl with autism who never made it home from school. Even though we received a stand-down 21 minutes after activation when the little girl was found by Saskatoon Police Service, we had a very impressive response (14 searchers were en route within 21 minutes, and one valiant member had even arrived!).  A debrief for this activation, even though none of our searchers actually searched, proved to be a valuable experience. 
Even if a formal debrief is not held, our members are encouraged to pass along any input regarding any activation to one of our Executive or Director members. This input helps us to ensure our response capacity continuously improves.

For Sale

SAR-Related Gear

Arc'teryx Theta AR shell jacket. Women's, black, size small. $400 or reasonable offer (Full price was $569); comes with sample tech wash. Seldom worn and selling it due to needing different size. Contact Rebecca at or 306-280-9190.

Salomon hiking boots, women's size 9.5. Never worn. $100. Contact Carolyn at or 306-229-1459. 

Do you have SAR-related gear you'd like to advertise for sale in the SSAR newsletter? Contact the Communications Director. 
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