Virtual conference for search and rescue workers held in Saskatoon

Hundreds of people gathered virtually to take part in SARscene 2021, an event all about learning and sharing information for search and rescue workers.

 

“This is an international level conference in search and rescue. These have been going on for many, many years now,” Scott Wright, president of Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) said.

 

“This is a really exciting one in that, despite COVID, despite the challenges in front of us, we’ve been able to put together a virtual conference led by Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers.”

 

Wright said the event has a large draw from those in search and rescue workers across the globe.

 

“We’re representing easily 12 to 13 countries right now. There’s over 1,200 people on each one of these sessions, so it’s an opportunity for people to share knowledge.”

 

The virtual event features more than 30 live interactive sessions, and more than 1,000 search and rescue professionals, speakers, and exhibitors from across Canada.

 

The event coincides with the 25th anniversary of SARSAV.

 

Shelley Ballard-Mckinley, project manager for SARscene said the planning for this year's event has been in the works a while, and all those involved are thrilled with the early reception.

 

“It’s been very stressful in the few days lead up, but we just finished the opening ceremony and it looks amazing,” Ballard-Mckinley told CTV.

 

RCMP constable Dylan Custaloe, a speaker at the conference, remembers back to 1994 when the search for missing Ashley Krestianson prompted the need for search and rescue services in the province.

 

“Ashley decided to take a shortcut into the bush. Her sister and friend were not properly dressed for the weather so they stayed on the road and Ashley went into the bush, and she went missing.”

 

“It was the biggest case of search and rescue for the RCMP and as a result of that search, SARSAV was established.”

 

In addition to all the information being shared amongst industry professionals, the conference also featured a big announcement from the search and rescue company AdventureSmart.

 

“What the marketplace is for AdventureSmart, it’s a virtual store where you can go buy AdventureSmart branded apparel and things like whistles, emergency blankets,” Linda Mushanski, regional coordinator for Saskatchewan for AdventureSmart told CTV.

 

“It will be available not only to the public but also to our presenters for when they go out and do their presentations.”

 

The event began on Saturday, September 25 and runs until October 3rd.