The Team’s primary role was, and remains, to assist the RCMP by providing a cadre of trained volunteers to conduct ground searches for persons who become lost in the Central Newfoundland wilderness. Over the years however, the Team’s role has expanded to include water searches and it frequently finds itself searching for and retrieving drowning victims or assisting the RCMP Dive Team. The Team also assists the RCMP with evidence searches in crimes ranging for theft to murder.
In addition to its duties with the RCMP, the Team now fulfils many other roles throughout the community. It provides First Aid services for large gatherings such as the Exploits Valley Salmon Festival. It assists local Fire Departments and the RCMP with traffic control, site security and evacuation during larger emergency events and is involved with the disaster plans of several local communities and agencies. Members of Exploits SAR, along with members of the Grand Falls-Windsor Fire Dept. and emergency personnel from the Central NL. Regional Health Center, form one of several High Angle Helicopter Rescue Teams located across the province. Recently the team received one of the first Hovercraft to be stationed across the Province and its members are currently training to provide a fast, ice rescue capability to residents throughout Central Newfoundland.
The Team is well equipped to fulfil its mandate. A renovated school bus provides command post and support resources during searches and other emergencies. The bus contains a complete range of communications and back-up equipment allowing the Team to set up a base of operations, potentially housing up to 20 people anywhere, any time and for any emergency. The Bus is also available to local communities for use as a mobile command post in times of need. A full sized 4 door, 4×4 pick-up is fully equipped to provide a rapid response to emergency situations and can tow a variety of trailered equipment as the need requires. A partially enclosed rescue sled, convertible from tires to skis, is used to evacuate injured persons from remote locations during all seasons of the year. A solid hull, zodiac style, fast rescue craft is used for water search and rescue operations while a smaller rubber zodiac is used on smaller bodies of water and for shoreline searches. The High Angle unit is fully equipped for helicopter insertion of skilled searchers or medical personal into remote locations, inaccessible by any other means or to affect a rescue from steep or vertical terrain. Our recently acquired hovercraft will allow us to quickly respond to ice rescue situations. Much of our equipment is configured in a modular fashion, allowing the team to respond quickly and effectively to a wide range of emergencies.