Grande Prairie Technical Search & Rescue (TSR) is looking for volunteers.

The organization is currently looking for aid for its operational and support teams. 

“Our team is really diverse, anyone from lawyers to farmers to stay-at-home moms,” can volunteer, said Darren Sherk, TSR vice president. 

The all-volunteer team has room for people with many different skill sets, he said, noting people who don’t want to go out in the field and its basic training can still join the cause, and be part of the support teams that do fundraising and community events. 

TSR is looking to add about 15 more members to its crew in the new year and is accepting applications until Jan. 31.

“It’s a great way to improve your skills in the outdoors while serving the community,” said Sherk.

Currently, TSR has about 41 operational members and 15 non-operational members.

Training is required for operational members who need to take a search-and-rescue basics course, standard first aid, an incident command system course. Each year members commit about 60 hours for TSR. 

“The 60-hour minimum is for training, fundraising, team maintenance, that kind of stuff, but I’d like to say it sounds like a lot, but over the year is a pretty easy commitment to make for minimal training,” said Sherk.

TSR members cover various services beyond just looking for missing people and medical responses. 

TSR was busy last year during the wildfires, said Sherk; it did about 90 tasks, including assisting with roadblocks and evacuations and helping with command. 

In 2022, TSR did 31 missions, logging 6,440 volunteer hours.

Sherk said TSR also provides safety standby for community events and prevention programs that help people be more prepared in the wilderness. 

“Teams will go and do hikes periodically and just engage with the public and let them know of any hazards that might be in the area and take in information that hikers have seen for hazards” on trails around the city.

Shrek said since joining TSR in 2016, “it’s kind of turned into a love of mine.”

“​​Everybody has something to bring to the table even if they don’t have any experience with emergency management; everybody’s got a unique perspective on things.

“Even new members teach me stuff, so it’s awesome.”

 For more information on TSR recruitment, visit tsrgp.org/recruitment/, which includes job descriptions and requirements. 

By Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Dec 21, 2023 at 09:35

This item reprinted with permission from   Town & Country News   Beaverlodge, Alberta

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