Maple Ridge’s squad of volunteers that goes out at all hours, in all weather, could use a few more people willing to do the same to help those lost in the wilderness.
About another 10 volunteers are needed to round out the core at Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue, said Barb Laing.
To bolsters its ranks, three information sessions have been set at its headquarters on Robson Way, near Planet Ice. The first took place on Tuesday but there are two more sessions, one on Friday, Feb. 7 and the other on Wednesday, Feb. 12, both at 7 p.m.
Info sessions include a presentation about search and rescue, a question-and-answer session and a tour of the building. Each session will take about 90 minutes.
The next step in the process is the day hike, scheduled for March 14. That’s a three-hour hike with other members. If recruits progress beyond that, they’ll be contacted for panel interviews. The next step in the recruitment process is an overnight search and rescue scenario.
Laing said that currently, there are about 30 members and that the group is trying raise that to about 40.
The numbers can be depleted if members move away or have more family or job commitments.
Training takes place every Wednesday night, with some weekend exercises as well. Most members put in between 200 and 300 volunteer hours a year.
The minimum age is 19 in good physical shape, but there’s no maximum age. People with a variety of skills are welcome.
“We want you in decent physical shape,” said Laing. Extensive knowledge of survival skills isn’t a requirement. “Area knowledge is a big one,” said Laing.