Wrapping Up 2022

This past year was Central Okanagan Search and Rescue’s third busiest in its 68 year history. COSAR’s volunteers responded to 84 calls, down from 107 in 2021, and 86 in 2020.

Tasks included everything from urban searches for lost seniors, winter rescues in extreme cold, rescues of injured mountain bikers, motorcycle and UTV riders, to multi-day searches on Okanagan Lake for missing swimmers.

More than 90 percent of tasks took place within the Central Okanagan Regional District. Volunteers also went to mutual-aid tasks in Hope, Penticton, and Logan Lake. COSAR also assisted in eight body recoveries helping bring closure to the families involved.

Search Manager Duane Tresnich wants to remind everyone that when exploring the outdoors, make sure to have proper training, carry the 10 essentials and file a trip plan.

“A few minutes on AdventureSmart.ca can mean the difference between life and death.”

COSAR’s 55 active members spent 4,080 hours on tasks and another 17,600 on training, administration, fundraising, and equipment maintenance for a total of 21,700 hours. This is up from 15,580 in 2021 and 11,390 in 2020.

The team added 16 new members in 2022 and bolstered the high angle and swiftwater teams with increased training. The capabilities of the medical team were significantly enhanced through training on advanced protocols and the addition of key personnel.

British Columbia’s 78 volunteer SAR groups receive more calls than the rest of Canada combined and COSAR is the fourth busiest team in BC behind Squamish, North Shore and Whistler.

Originally established in 1954, COSAR is the oldest SAR group of its kind in BC. We are responsible for backcountry emergency services between Oyama, Peachland, Merritt and Rock Creek.

“COSAR is heavily dependent upon the financial support of the community as only 40% of our funding for operational costs is provided by the government,” says COSAR President Brad Trites.

“As such we are extremely grateful to organizations such as the Stober Foundation, TJ and Steph Real Estate Group, Central Okanagan Foundation, Beecroft Fuel Distribution, Mega Storage, Mr. Lube and numerous individuals within the community who helped us cover our financial needs. Every dollar we receive through donations truly helps us save lives.”