Groups of people wearing high-visibility vests with compasses in their hands could be noticed all across southeast Saskatchewan lately.
While it could have looked unusual to those passing by, for those involved it was nothing but natural. South East Saskatchewan Search and Rescue (SESKSAR) volunteers held their training in early April. It was decided that different zones of the broad region would localize their exercises.
Estevan zone's volunteers organized the mock call-out shortly after the snowstorm on April 15. Dan Hardern, Leanne Strokov, Alex Critikos, Monica Kovach and Anastasiia Bykhovskaia mustered at Rotary Hall in Woodlawn Regional Park and went through compass practices at the location nearby. The group also had a chance to go through their backpacks and equipment required for a real search and rescue operation.
The Weyburn zone saw Sandy Stewart, Rick Hallberg, Derek Layden, Mickey Quigley and Clarence Fradette training on April 10. The group did exercises with compasses and reinforced the knowledge received through the basic searcher training.
On April 3, the Carnduff zone team of SESKSAR received their mock dispatch. They gathered at Steelman and then headed to a nearby land location where they successfully held three compass practices. The group also carried out a mock search with two virtually missing neighbours who were located by SESKSAR members Mike Meyer, Katia Bigney and three spontaneous volunteers, who helped ground search and operate the incident command base.
Cody Chorney and Pat Ross, who were fully equipped, held their training in the Carlyle area on April 11. Volunteers practised their skills in using compasses and navigation, and did a mock search of the exercise location.
All training operations followed the COVID-19 related rules, established by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.