Urban Search and Rescue Team completes monthly training

Search and Rescue

A member of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team is hoisted down via vertical lift into a confined space. Photos: Sub-Lieutenant Wilson Ho, USAR Team Member.

SLt Wilson Ho, 
Urban Search and Rescue Team, 
MARPAC Public Affairs

The CFB Esquimalt’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team completed its monthly training the last week of July at the USAR Training Compound near Naval Officer Training Centre (NOTC) Venture.

“The USAR Team has been working on a variety of different urban rescue techniques, and this month’s training allowed the Team to combine a lot of the skills learned to safely extract a patient from rubble,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Drew Torchia, USAR Team Operations Chief.

This month, the team conducted a complex rescue scenario to search for a missing person trapped in rubble following a building collapse. This scenario included: a vertical lift insertion; cutting through concrete, rebar, and wood with power tools; and a confined space maze. Once the missing person was found, the team had to package the patient for transportation and then manoeuvre the patient through the rubble to extract them via the vertical lift.

In addition to the complex scenario, members were allowed to train on the DELSAR, a seismic/acoustic listening device used to detect and locate trapped live victims, and the SearchCam 3000, an articulating, extendable, waterproof search and rescue camera that locates victims trapped in collapsed buildings.

“Skill fade is inevitable, and complex scenarios like this allow everyone to refresh their skills,” he said. “There is no single right answer in USAR, and everyone has different, unique expertise they can bring to the table to save lives.”

The CFB Esquimalt USAR Team is actively recruiting more Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to join its ranks to become a Medium USAR (MUSAR) team by International Search and Rescue Advisory Group standards. The USAR Team trains 20 days a year, on the last Wednesday of every month except December, and two week-long exercises each year. No prior qualifications or experiences are required to join.

Interested CAF members are asked to go to the DWAN’s CFB Esquimalt USAR Recruiting website and submit their applications (with Chain of Command authorization) via email to the indicated personnel on the webpage, or to contact glenn.cooper@forces.gc.ca.

Search and Rescue

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