North Shore Rescue is the first ground search and rescue organization approved to participate in a pilot project to help search and rescue groups extend their aerial search and transport operating hours using a night-vision imaging system (NVIS).
“B.C.’s search and rescue groups help people in some of the harshest conditions, and that includes low-light and night conditions,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This pilot project is the first of its kind in Canada for volunteer search and rescue groups, and I look forward to being able to provide search and rescue experts another tool to make their job safer and easier.”
Currently, NVIS technology use is restricted to official organizations, such as police or military. The Province has changed the policy to allow search and rescue groups to apply to pilot the technology that will help with their searches. That means search and rescue volunteers can extend their search time by helicopter, helping them find lost people in darkness.
“North Shore Rescue is leading the way once again,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “As we approach the longest nights of the year, I'm comforted in knowing that this pilot project will enable the use of night-vision equipment that will help search and rescue crews save lives.”
North Shore Rescue applied to the Province for NVIS capability. The volunteer group will use helicopter night-vision goggles, which will help with aerial searches and transportation in low-light or night-time operations. North Shore Rescue’s application was approved due to the proximity of its response area to a large urban centre, a high percentage of low-light responses, as well as the technical and remote terrain.
"Having NVIS capability will decompress the time-sensitive nature of these operations, reducing the risk of adverse events,” said Mike Danks, team leader for North Shore Rescue. “This has been a long journey for both Talon Helicopters and North Shore Rescue to attain, and we truly appreciate the support and collaboration from our community partners and all levels of government."
The NVIS pilot project will gather essential data on how night-vision capability can improve search and rescue responses. All operations involving NVIS will be evaluated for effectiveness on an ongoing basis, with the hope that these tools could be expanded to other search and rescue groups across British Columbia where there is an operational need.
- North Shore Rescue volunteers respond to approximately 130 incidents per year.
- 37% of requests for North Shore Rescue involve "light-compressed" or night operations.
- B.C.’s 2,500 registered search and rescue volunteers provide a vital public safety service for citizens and visitors, responding to more than 1,600 incidents each year.
For information on the BC Search and Rescue Association, visit: https://www.bcsara.com/