History

The Central Okanagan Search & Rescue Society was established in 1954 (originally called Kelowna Search & Rescue), when a little girl wandered off while camping with her family. There was no trained or organized group to search for her, so a band of people at the campsite took up the task. Fortunately she was found, but the people involved became thoroughly convinced of the need for organized Search & Rescue members. It was the caring people from that campsite who formed the nucleus of the Central Okanagan Search & Rescue team - now the oldest organized Search & Rescue group of it's kind in BC. Since that time, membership has grown, with successful training programs coming to the fore. Training has been developed and supervised under the direction of the Provincial Emergency Program - they coordinate it all. The Justice Institute is in charge of course standards and curriculum. They determine what training a volunteer should have in order to qualify. There is a basic 74-hour course, which is mandatory. Subsequent courses must be taken as team members advance to higher levels. There is a minimum first-aid requirement of OFA Level 1. It is not surprising that a close affinity has developed with other service agencies - the RCMP, Fire Departments and B .C. Ambulance Service. Fish and Wildlife was one of the first groups to lend a hand to Search & Rescue. In 1997 Kelowna Search & Rescue and Westbank Search & Rescue joined to create Central Okanagan Search & Rescue. The new group is better able to serve the community and provides a highly trained professional volunteer Search & Rescue service to the community.