Skip to main content

‘It's a constant sleuthing process’: What goes into search and rescue efforts?

Several searches have occurred in Saskatchewan so far this year, but sometimes the efforts involved often go unnoticed.

Director of Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers Scott Wright says there are a lot of factors that can go into a search effort.

“There's a real core piece around that boots on the ground side,” he said.

“One starts with the mindset that search is an emergency, and there's a critical component of having your head in the game all the time. You're working with the understanding that there are more clues than there are subjects, so you're looking not only with the idea of that final subject but for all of the indicators that go around with that subject.”

Wright said it was vital to understand the missing person's perspective so they can try and anticipate what the person might be thinking.

“Give us indications, signs, direction, clues in terms of where (they) might go. It's a constant sleuthing process.”

Provincial coordinator for Adventure Smart Linda Mushanski says search parties will be looking for something that’s not natural in nature.

“For example, taking a bunch of logs if you're in the woods and you’re by a clearing, take a bunch of logs and make a big X, so that if an airplane or a helicopter goes over you they'll see that X that's not natural, they know that you're there,” she said.

Mushanski says the most important thing to do if you ever get separated in the wilderness is stay put.

“You want to make sure that you're in a safe place, so you want to know that you're not in the middle of a road or in the middle of an avalanche area, but get somewhere safe, stay put, hunker down and wait for searchers to come and find you,” she said.

“If you have fire-making stuff with you, make yourself a small fire as well so the smoke from that fire will also help to signal somebody to come to where you are.”

Mushanski said there were three T’s that Adventure Smart recommends people follow; trip planning, training and taking the essentials.

“Trip planning is very simple, it's telling somebody where you're going and when you expect to return so that if you are overdue, they know that they need to go looking for you,” she said.

Training also involves taking wilderness survival courses.

“The last one is taking the essentials, and these are a number of items that we recommend that you carry with you at all times. They include things like a first aid kit, sun protection, extra food and water, something to communicate with, so it would be a cell phone, be it a radio, something like that,” she said.

“Those are the main things that you need to have with you so that if you do get lost, you get do get separated, that you have a better chance of surviving.” Top Stories

Stay Connected