By Wendy Elliott
The Valley Search and Rescue team needs a new home.
The current headquarters, which is adjacent to the Kings County Municipal Airport in Cambridge, has no indoor parking for support vehicles.
“Look at that bus,” says search manager Fred Bond. Pointing to the wheels, he adds, “It’s all iced in. By the time we get cleaned up and going, we’ll have exhausted half our energy and your grandmother could be lost.”
As a woodsman, Bond says, he cannot stay at home if someone is lost, while Ella Redden, who enjoys training dogs, adds that the pull of bringing closure to a family is awesome.
The building that has been home to their team since 1977 only houses two amphibious vehicles. The importance of a quick response to search emergencies can’t be underestimated, according to Bond.
Critical time can be lost clearing snow and ice during the winter months, he said. It can take up to an hour to clear off the vehicles, get them warmed up and on the road.
Valley Search and Rescue has seven vehicles that can be sent to a search site, including a command centre and personnel carrier, as well as logistics and medical aid vehicles. The team also owns a support van for Project Lifesaver.
A new structure would ideally be somewhere in the Coldbrook to Waterville area, but not at the airport because more space, approximately five acres, is needed for training purposes. Bond said plans have been underway for about four years.
The preliminary design includes inside bays for all vehicles along with a meeting area. The proposed 900-square-metre building would be equipped with a generator for emergency electrical power.
There are 100 members volunteering for Valley Search and Rescue. They train in search management, wilderness survival, map and compass, first aid, wilderness and remote first responder techniques, amateur radio, canine search and other skills required to perform rescues.
The team plans to make funding proposals to all three levels of government.
Formed in 1971, the Valley group was one of the first search and rescue teams in the province. All members are volunteers.