North Shore Search And Rescue
A longstanding partnership that Arc'teryx has developed is with the North Shore Rescue (NSR) group, based in North Vancouver, BC. One of the largest organizations of its kind in North America and certainly the most active, NSR relies on volunteer manpower and resourceful fundraising to maintain its presence.
To help the organization, Arc'teryx fills replenishment uniform orders in addition to allowing all members individual access to the pro program. Donated insulated jackets are used in the rescue stations and whenever possible, Arc'teryx contributes product toward fundraising initiatives.
Like many Search and Rescue (SAR) groups, the NSR operating budget is substantial. For this team in particular, the use of helicopters reduces manpower and search times, but increases costs. While the government does provide some funding, gaming grants form the bulk of their income, in addition to significant private donations.
However, despite the public debate around costs and accountability, there is a certain expectation that SAR teams will respond to all calls. "Sure, people expect to be rescued. It's good to be counted on, but it's a false sense of security that people have."Jeff Yarnold, North Shore SAR Director and Equipment Officer.
This is because the back yard around Vancouver is actually the backcountry. "People go out and they're just not prepared."Terrain is steep, challenging, underbrush is thick and despite the large number of trails, it can be confusing as darkness and panic settle in. "No lights is the one of the most common things that happens, when people leave home thinking they will be back and suddenly it's dark and they can't see."
People have started to rely more on cell phones than flashlights. The use of cell phones has reduced search times drastically, but people need to be aware that they cannot rely on a cell phone in the backcountry as coverage is minimal and batteries die fast in the cold. Smart phones with GPS make locating people easier, but the first call for help should be 911. Too many people call their friends first and by the time NSR makes contact, cell phone batteries are dangerously low.
Out-of-bounds skiing has become a similar rescue scenario. "It's never ending. As much work as the hills put into making the boundaries obvious, people can't resist and the ski areas don't have the resources to send out patrollers. They will do some initial investigating and then they call us."
Public education is a large factor in trying to reduce the number of calls and it is working. A dedicated group of the North Shore members present information sessions via schools, interest groups and adventure days at the local hills. People are encouraged to assess their skill level, research the terrain before setting out, carry appropriate equipment and know how to use it to remove themselves from danger.
That being said, Jeff adds, "Call us! Don't wait until it's too late, or too harsh. We don't want people to get into a worse situation." For the NSR team, weather and daylight make the difference. Call early and increase the chances of everyone arriving home safely.
The 50th anniversary for the North Shore SAR is coming up, close to a new clothing issue. "Going back to Arc'teryx is a no-brainer; there's nothing else out there, in my mind. The stuff's so good. And having you right here, we're thrilled."
Thank you, Jeff Yarnold and all members of the North Shore SAR. It is a good feeling to help people out.Learn More about the Arc'teryx Pro Program and Industry SalesVisit pro.arcteryx.com to find details on industry deals, group purchases and custom uniform programs.