Opinion » Editorial


Last winter the 24 Whistler Search and Rescue volunteers spent about 2,000 hours in search and rescue efforts, and about the same amount of time training. That averages out to about 167 hours for each volunteer, or nearly 21 eight-hour days per person. Towards the end of last winter volunteers had spent so much time on search and rescue efforts there was a strong indication of burnout. The hours spent in searches took time away from work and from families. Many of those search efforts could have been avoided if skiers and hikers had used more sense on the mountains. Because of the dramatic increase in the number of searches in recent years an education program is planned for this winter, but funding may be a problem. Funding is always a problem. Even though Whistler Search and Rescue operates under the umbrella of the Provincial Emergency Program and conducts its activities under the direction of the RCMP, the group does not receive government funding. Whistler Search and Rescue operates on an annual budget of roughly $60,000, all of it coming from charitable groups, fund-raising events and individual donations. It costs about $4,500 to equip each member (until a couple of years ago members used their own equipment). The snow on the mountain-tops this week is a reminder that winter is not far away, and Search and Rescue volunteers are likely to begin getting calls again. It might not be you that needs their help, but it may be someone you know. There are several events in the next week that are attempting to raise funds for Whistler Search and Rescue, including this weekend’s Alpine Wine Festival, next weekend’s Tennis Festival and the Garibaldi Gruel. Whistler Search and Rescue will have information booths at some of these events. Stop by and see what you can do to help them. You know what they can do to help you.