The Exploits Search and Rescue Team is a highly trained and well equipped volunteer emergency response unit serving communities throughout Central Newfoundland. The Team was originally established in 1982 as the result of an initiative by Emergency Measures and the RCMP, who saw a need for organized and trained groups to assist police in locating missing persons. It is one of 24 teams, containing almost 900 members, currently operating throughout the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Today the Exploits Team provides search and rescue services to residents and communities from Harbour Breton and Bay D’Espoir in the south to Notre Dame Bay and Gander Bay in the north, from Badger Lake in the west to Glenwood in the East. To put this into perspective, this is an area somewhat larger than Cape Breton Island and almost twice the size of the Province of Prince Edward Island.
Members of the Exploits Search and Rescue team receive basic training in map and compass and GPS navigation, radio communications, first aid, wilderness survival, the psychology of lost persons, and search techniques and procedures. In addition members can receive training in evidence search techniques, emergency traffic control, wilderness first aid, ice rescue, high angle and helicopter rescue, tracking, swift water rescue, rope and rigging management, and water search techniques. In most cases training is provided by skilled and certified trainers from within the Team however trained professionals are available to assist with training when needed.
The Exploits Search and Rescue Team is a licensed charitable organization and is largely self supporting. With the assistance of local communities, through the use of grants and through extensive fund raising efforts, the Team has been able to build up a large inventory of equipment to fulfill its various roles and to construct a building in which to house these assets. While it is one thing to obtain equipment; it is quite another endeavor to maintain these resources in an operational condition. Fund raising and the support of local communities remains a continuing priority for Team members. Members themselves are completely volunteer and receive no compensation for their efforts. Members also equip themselves at their own expense and frequently contribute their own vehicles, ATVs, snowmobiles, boats and other personal resources to search efforts.
Since its inception in 1982 the Team has responded to well over 250 lost or missing people’s situations and acted as a support on numerous occasions. On average the team responds to 15 – 20 operational call-outs per year. These included searches for lost persons, evacuation of injured persons from isolated locations, water searches for drowning victims, body recoveries and assisting with traffic control and evacuation of residents during a local fire emergency. In addition the Team provided traffic control and first aid services at local public events.
The members of the Exploits Search and Rescue Team are committed to assisting the citizens and communities of Central Newfoundland in times of crisis. Through our continued training and upgrading of equipment, we hope, with the support of local communities, to provide a quality service that people can call on in their time of need for many years to come.