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Supporting B.C.’s search and rescue heroes through multi-year partnership

April 22, 2022

Articles

A 33-percent workload increase over the span of just three years would challenge any organization. But when overcoming that challenge is a matter of life and death, failure is simply not an option. That’s the reality the BC Search and Rescue Association (BCSARA) is facing, and Rogers has teamed up with the Victoria Foundation to help.

Last November, in the wake of devastating floods and a state of emergency declared in British Columbia, we announced a $1-million donation to the BCSARA and the Victoria Foundation, which administers the funds. The funds would go to support BCSARA’s annual search and rescue efforts, which have jumped by about a third since 2018, with unprecedented wildfires and flooding pushing the 2021 total over 2,000 in BC for the first time.

We came together with BCSARA and the Victoria Foundation on Wednesday, April 6 for a ceremony to mark the launch of the BC Search and Rescue Association Fund. The up-front $500,000, and five-year funding commitment of $100,000 per year will support the excellent work of the BCSARA and, by extension, the many groups whose dedicated members do such important work for the people in the province.


Several Rogers team members are also volunteers for the cause. Wireless Access Network Operations Manager Jim Loree joined North Shore Rescue (NSR) in 2000 and has been involved in hundreds of rescues since then. Jim’s Search and Rescue (SAR) roles have included search management, air operations coordination, helicopter longline and hoist rescue, Swiftwater and kayak rescue, and avalanche response. In addition to these and other activities, Jim helps to support NSR’s expansive radio repeater network and fleet of portable Very High Frequency (VHF) radios. “Volunteering time in a way that supports the community and helps other people is one of the most meaningful and rewarding experiences someone can have,” Jim said. “I encourage people to volunteer and to support those that do. Whether it is helping your local SAR team or coaching a children’s sports team, we all have a role to play.”

With the frequency of deployments increasing more quickly than ever before, BCSARA is working to do more than stay the course. In this video, Jerry Haak, a volunteer from the Central Fraser Valley rescue team, recounts his experience during the 2021 floods.

We are committed to improving safety for workers, travellers and community residents, and have been working with all levels of government to make network and innovation investments, including recent cellular expansion projects along highways 3, 4, 14, 16, 95 and 97. We also established a multi-year partnership with the University of British Columbia to develop, explore and test new made-in-Canada 5G capabilities in areas such as wildfire management and emergency response.

With the safety of British Columbians depending on emergency resources and technologies more than ever before, we’re helping to ensure that the province is prepared for whatever the future holds.

“Our support for BCSARA is another example of how we’re prioritizing the safety of Canadians during difficult times. In conjunction with our wireless service expansion projects along multiple B.C. highways, our support is providing new technology, specialized equipment, and other immediate and long-term support to the 79 GSAR teams and 3,000 volunteers.” – Dean Prevost, President of Integration at Rogers Communications.

“Support from organizations like Rogers allows us to enhance our capabilities throughout the province. This fund will assist our hard-working SAR volunteers in saving lives and strengthen our critical work in the province for many years to come.” – Chris Mushumanski, President, BC Search and Rescue Association.

“The Victoria Foundation is proud to host the BC Search and Rescue Association Fund. We’re excited to see Rogers stepping forward to further support the fund with critical funding that will be an on-going support for the organization. I have seen the increases in demand on many non-profit organizations over the past two years including BC Search and Rescue. Thank you to the BC Search and Rescue team for the integral role you play in communities across the province.”  – Sandra Richardson, Victoria Foundation CEO.