Community responders highlight the need for consistent courses in basic and wilderness first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), radio operation, navigation, technical rescue skills, and use of the Incident Command System. SAR teams need more opportunities to practice as a group and to train with the other organizations responsible for delivering SAR services at the community level. Veteran community responders also noted that NEM’s previous GSAR training course had been far too “southern focused” or involved too many components geared towards SAR practices below the treeline, and had too little Nunavut-specific content (in 2020, Nunavut Emergency Management addressed this concern with the launch of its new ‘Nunavutized’ SAR training).
For volunteers with jobs and families, it can be difficult to get the time off required to complete training. Many people have to use their holidays to participate in SAR training. So, while people are willing to go out on actual searches, they struggle to commit the time required for the training that would improve their effectiveness.
Suggestions and Solutions
- Community GSAR teams, Coast Guard Auxiliaries, and Canadian Rangers should have the opportunity to train and practice with one another.
- Groups should also share their training schedules to maximize the amount of people who receive the training. For example, if someone is coming in to provide Wilderness First Aid training to the Rangers, the other community groups should be invited.
- SAR members should have access to Wilderness First Aid training on a regular basis.
- Municipal, territorial, and federal governments should provide time off, with pay, to allow their employees to pursue training opportunities. This recommendation reflects the high number of community responders who are employed by the municipal, territorial, and federal governments
- Think of incentives to encourage people to volunteer for SAR and participate in training. Ideas for incentives include: a small annual cash bonus, equipment and gear, and Nunavut or Kitikmeot SAR clothing and gear (“everyone loves swag!”).
- A new course should be developed for members of the SAR Committee who do not engage in searches, but remain in the community to support families and to perform administrative tasks.