North Shore Rescue is seeking more volunteers after 2015 proved to be their busiest year since they began operations in 1965.
The team received a total of 138 calls last year; they typically receive 90 to 100 calls. North Shore Rescue’s Mike Danks thinks this past summer’s beautiful weather – combined with a lack of hiker preparedness – led to the increase in calls.
“We had a lot of people getting out into the mountains, which is what we really encourage people to do, but a lot of people weren’t prepared to be going out into the mountains,” Danks told Vancity Buzz.
“Whether they didn’t just do the research into the trail they were going to hike, or not bringing a light source and they were getting caught by darkness, there were a number of different factors.”
Danks said as a result, they’re looking to bring on four to six additional volunteers by January 8. The tight turnaround is due to a training hike taking place on January 10.
While Danks falls short of saying he’s disappointed with the actions of North Shore mountain hikers, he said he finds the repetition of mistakes frustrating.
“There’s a number of factors that contribute to it, and we’re doing our best to educate the public, but it seems like with the increase of people getting into the wilderness, the call volume is going to increase.”
Qualified individuals should have first aid training, be outdoorsy, be familiar with the North Shore mountains, and have backcountry experience. Danks stresses, however, that this is more than just a volunteer opportunity.
“We need people to understand the commitment it is to join our team and really understand that it is a large commitment and requires a lot of their time, but the rewards are well worth it because you’re giving back to the community.”
If you’re interested in applying or have questions, send an email to [email protected]