British Columbia’s Ground Search and Rescue Teams had their busiest year during the pandemic.

British Columbians were pushed to explore the outdoors because of COVID-19 restrictions, drawing record numbers of requests for assistance from Search and Rescue (SAR). Between April 2020 and April 2021, SAR teams were deployed 1,959 times. The yearly average for responses is around 1,500, which is more than the rest of Canada combined.

“B.C.’s 79 GSAR groups have been pushed to their limits,” said Chris Kelly, president, BC Search and Rescue Association. “COVID-19 has made risky work even more dangerous for each individual. I implore anyone heading out into the elements to do their part by planning ahead. Make sure you’re prepared for where you’re going – have a plan, have the right gear, know how to use it and take the training.”

BC residents are urged to use caution when heading out to BC trails. BC AdventureSmart advises people to follow the ‘Three T’s’: trip plan, train, and take the essentials.