SAR Newsletter

Posted on Wednesday October 17, 2018 at 09:09PM


President’s Message
Monica Ahlstrom

One of the goals for the board this year was to get the newsletter out again and thanks to the help of Michelle Limoges and David Kauffman it’s here! And being the first one this year it’s a large edition so make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for great offers and information. We are looking to make the newsletter a quarterly event, but we will also send out bulletins and updates more regularly.
Some highlights in this newsletter include:
three upcoming provincial workshops one for Adventure Smart, another for SAR Managers and one for organizational and team development;
a section on pro-deals available for SAR teams;
teams celebrating key anniversaries.
It has been a busy year so far and the SAR Alberta board has done a great deal of work moving the organization forward and we will continue to work on your behalf as we move into the second part of the term.
Please make sure everyone in your team gets the newsletter, forward on to anyone who did not receive and ask them to subscribe if they would like to get information directly from SAR Alberta.
Congratulations to Sundre Search and Rescue on their 25th Anniversary!
Congratulations to Calgary Search and Rescue on their 25th Anniversary!
Adventure Smart
Sue Berner from SEASAR is now the coordinator for the Adventure Smart program for Alberta.
Sue is working with Adventure Smart Coordinator Paul French from SARVAC on an upcoming training workshop for Adventure Smart. A bulletin on this workshop should have gone out to all the teams with a deadline to register for the workshop of October 12.
The OFC has offered to continue to house the Adventure Smart materials.

Norquest and SAR Alberta have jointly agreed to suspend the MOU that is currently in place with the opportunity to review in June of 2019. It was felt by both parties that further discussion needed to happen before going forward as originally proposed.
Part of SAR Alberta’s concern was the development of Bone Identification course without SAR Alberta’s input or knowledge. This course was developed after election of the current board and SAR Alberta was not consulted or informed of the course until after it had been developed. SAR Alberta has not endorsed this course. The MOU which was in place at the time, clearly notes that Norquest would consult and work with SAR Alberta on all course development related to SAR. It was also brought to the boards attention that Norquest has approached other SAR members for course development, again without SAR Alberta’s knowledge.
Meetings have been held with Norquest’s VP of Business Development on this issue – SAR Alberta will now be addressing the issue with the President of Norquest.
As well, Norquest will be returning $13,800 to SAR Alberta, which will in turn have to be returned to the government of Alberta – that was part of the Sustainability grant. Norquest had been contracted to assist in the re-working of the SAR Alberta website. This work was part of the contract that included the Sustainability survey that was completed by Norquest. Work on the website was not started so the funds will be returned.

Burnt Timber
Over the last few years SAR Alberta has worked with Shell Canada on an initiative that would allow search and rescue access to, and use of, a 55 acre fenced property located near Water Valley, AB. The property is located at the end of a paved highway, it is serviced with electricity and water and has high speed internet to the property line. The area was the home of a gas plant that has been decommissioned and torn down, remediation and reclamation of the site is ongoing.
Responsibility for the site has moved within Shell Canada with direction on the project now being coordinated through the Legacy divisions of Shell Canada and Shell out of Houston, Texas. Thus Shell Canada will be reviewing both the current access agreement and will be working with SAR Alberta on the long term MOU. Patty Richards, External Relations, Legacy/PCRO, Shell Canada will be the main liaison with the SAR Alberta board on this issue. There are positives to this move as it allows for a more robust review of the project with awareness of more key decision makers within Shell.
Thank you to Richard Smith and Les Larson for their ongoing work on this initiative. A special thank-you to lawyer Karen Hanna – who volunteered her time to provide legal review of the initial proposed MOU.

Sustainability Grant /Training Grant
SAR Alberta has submitted the report and documentation for the grant report required for the Sustainability grant we will have to pay moneys back to the government of Alberta including the money for the website from Norquest as well as around $17,000 that was not spent before the March 31, 2018 deadline. We are currently waiting on the final review of the grant documents by the government of Alberta for the final total we will have to return. Thanks to Heather Sauve and Karen Drebert for their work on this, and to everyone else who assisted.

SARVAC Representative
Don Drebert has resigned as the representative for SARVAC therefore SAR Alberta will be selecting a new representative for this position. SAR Alberta is working on a selection process for this position, which will include a job description and term. South-Central Deputy director Ken McCurdy will represent SAR Alberta in the interim until the position is filled.
Thank you to Don Drebert for his many years of service on the SARVAC board.

SAR Alberta has been asked to participate in the Alberta Critical Incident Provincial Network Project being led by the Alberta Critical Incident Advisory Council. This organization has developed and trained a peer-to-peer CISM support network to work with first responders and other personnel across the province. SAR Alberta has submitted a letter of support to the organization as it looks for sustainable funding for this project. If the funding goes forward they will work with search and rescue to find appropriate SAR members to train and participate in the program.

Jerry Forbes
The Jerry Forbes Centre is a building that has been designed to provide office space specifically with volunteer organizations in mind. The building is around 97,000 square feet in size and will hold up to 19 different volunteer organizations. SAR Alberta has applied for tenancy in the building, which would include an office with internet access, mail box, front reception, locked storage lockers, free meeting spaces, access to both regular and large format photocopiers, and use of large training spaces for a nominal fee. Having a central location for SAR Alberta will allow us to have all our equipment etc, in one location, it will also allow us to participate in more fundraising activities. It also creates the opportunity to work with the other volunteer organizations in the building. Costs per month will be around $520 depending on the services we use. We do not yet know if our application was accepted as it has to go to the board of the centre for approval. We should know sometime in October.
Vice-President Heather Sauve has the lead on this project and has done a great job of representing SAR Alberta on this initiative.

New OHS regulations in particular around Harassment policies and procedures came into effect June 1, 2018. These regulations do impact search and rescues teams and as volunteers we do fall under OHS regulations. SAR Alberta advises all teams to review and make themselves aware of the implication for your team. We will also be holding an OHS training workshop this fall/winter and representatives from all teams are encouraged to attend. Information on harassment policies can be found on the Alberta Human Rights web site.

Grant Extension
There is still one outstanding grant that SAR Alberta asked and received an extension for until December 31, 2018.
Monies from the grant have been allocated to the following projects:

A province wide workshop for all teams - the focus of this workshop will be on helping SAR groups with administration and management, including grant proposals, OHS regulations, fundraising, etc. The workshop will be held before the end of the year and all teams are encouraged to attend. Training coordinator Paul Carolan is leading this project. Please watch for more information on this workshop including the date and location and agenda.
SAR Manager’s table top exercise and case review – a one day session will be held for SAR Managers from across the province to review case studies and network on SAR management issues. This project will also run before the new year. Doug Turner, Central Deputy, is the lead on this project. More information will be forth coming
Training materials – SAR Alberta will be purchasing 500 SAR Basic books, 300 Team Leader books and 100 SAR Management books available for teams when training. This is a follow-up to the books that were purchased by the OFC that have now run out.
Distance to Assistance – The Distance to Assistance projects builds on program started by Sundre SAR. Each May long weekend the search and rescue group participates in a check stop with the RCMP and other agencies, that stop vehicles heading into the west country. Sundre SAR hands out a brochure to each vehicle that outlines the risks of the back country and the time it will take someone to get to help or have help get to them should something serious happen. The brochure also incorporates: a general map showing the distance to assistance; and a list of emergency contacts for the area. The funding for the project will allow for the creation of the brochure for other parts of the province as well as the development of media campaign for the long weekend. The goal is to have this program become sustainable through corporate and other funding, and to create a province wide campaign on long weekends around the Distance-to-Assistance. Sonya Larson and Doug Turner Central Deputy Director from Sundre SAR will head up this project. They will be contacting the teams/regions in the province for materials to adapt the brochure to different areas.
Partnership/Stakeholder Relations – A committee has been created to help SAR Alberta engage, and in many cases re-engage with our stakeholders and partners. This engagement will take place on both the regional and provincial levels as we work to strengthen our relationships with our tasking agencies, local and provincial governments, and other rescue and disaster support organizations. DeLea Mapstone, from SEASAR has offered to Chair this committee.
Board Development – money has been set aside for board development for the SAR Alberta board.
Accountant – was required by the grant and is included in the budget to complete the grant reports and compliance
Thank you to Michelle Limoges and David Kaufman from SARDAA for their assistance with the newsletter. A thank you also to all those individuals and teams that contributed to this edition.
The goal going forward is to have a newsletter go out quarterly, there is also opportunity to use the Mail Chimp application for monthly updates or to get out timely information to all search and rescue members. There is a monthly charge of nearly $35 for Mail Chimp, it has proven to be the most effective way to reach individual members though we will explore if we can accomplish the same goal with D4H.

Volunteers needed
If you are interested in any of the projects outlined in the newsletter or would like to help with any SAR Alberta committee please let your regional rep or the chair of the committee know. As there are some short deadlines for the grant extension projects volunteers are most welcome

Author: Wetaskiwin Search and Rescue Society


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