Last year was the busiest in the history of Central Okanagan Search and Rescue.

In all, the team responded to 81 emergencies; historically we average 55-60 a year.

Although COVID19 may be behind the increase in outdoor recreationalists, the team also responded to a record number of urban searches for distraught individuals and missing seniors and children.

Sadly, there were also four body recoveries.

The 51 COSAR members volunteered over 20,000 hours in 2020; 4,342 were spent on incidents, over 10,000 on training and the remainder on maintenance, repair, and general administration.

August was the busiest month with 16 calls.

The team also responded to 10 mutual aid calls including helping Penticton RCMP with evacuations from the Christie Mountain wildfire and searching for a missing hiker in Manning Park.

The team recruited 14 new members in 2020 and all are currently operational. We also augmented our team’s capabilities by adding an RCMP certified civilian search and rescue dog to our ranks. Chase is a two-year-old Labrador retriever.

For 2021, COSAR plans to recruit administration and maintenance staff so keep an eye on Facebook for more information if you are interested.

Public donations helped keep us operational and we received nearly $30,000, including $15,000 from the Central Okanagan Foundation and $2,500 from ReMax. The remainder came from the public via the Cosar.ca donation button. The money went towards first aid and rope team training, a TrailRider wheeled chair, and a new snowmobile.

COSAR would like to thank the Central Okanagan Regional District and members of the Kelowna Snowmobile Club for their support. Goals for 2021 include finding a new operations base closer to the city centre and having fewer calls.

For information on how to help reduce the number of callouts, please visit COSAR.ca or adventuresmart.ca