PENTICTON/OSOYOOS – Three search and rescue organizations in the South Okanagan have received a combined total of more than $148,000 from the B.C. government’s $10 million in one-time funding commitments to the B.C. Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA).

The funding helps bolster training, administrative support and equipment renewals for these critical public-safety lifeline volunteers.

The recipients:

  • Penticton and District Search and Rescue: $92,367.20
  • Oliver-Osoyoos Search and Rescue: $31,391.57
  • Keremeos Search and Rescue: $25,000

“With so many outdoor recreation opportunities in the South Okanagan, our search and rescue volunteers must be ready to go into the most challenging terrain,” Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson said. “This extra funding helps cover the significant operating costs these organizations face each year.”

“We depend on search and rescue volunteers to be a lifeline whenever and wherever they’re needed,” Penticton MLA Dan Ashton said. “They give their spare time to venture out in extreme conditions, and this funding will allow these organizations to expand and update their services and equipment.”

The money received by the organizations will go toward activities such as training for technical search and rescue responses, personal protective equipment to ensure their members are safe, and other equipment that supports search and rescue operations.

The $10 million in BCSARA funding will take place over a two-year period, based on the proposed Alternative Support Model that was supported by its members. These funding allocations are given according to the needs of the local ground search and rescue teams to replace or update equipment, provide administrative support and pay for new or additional training.

This investment builds on the $6.3 million the B.C. government is already providing each year to cover ground search and rescue operational costs for deployment, as well as training and equipment costs, and the insurance and liability for the members of the 80 groups serving across the B.C. landscape.