Sunset Search and Rescue will be conducting a membership blitz soon to get volunteers involved in assisting the OPP in the district when needed.
Recently incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization, its board of directors is meeting here tonight to form a plan on how to get volunteers on board.
It also is receiving a sleigh donation from the Fort Frances Lions Club.
“Basically, we’re looking for a lot of members simply because we have to have the drawing power,“ acting president Dan McCormick said yesterday, noting they wanted to create a membership list for each community because there is such a large area to cover.
While they are hoping to target groups and individuals who already have specialized training and expertise, McCormick stressed they wouldn’t be turning away those who met their criteria.
Volunteers will have to take the required training on land, water, and snow rescues. This way, a group of people will be trained under the same standards as OPP members to conduct marine and land rescues, as well as search for missing persons.
“The other advantage of this is you would be covered under the province’s WCB while you were working,” McCormick added.
“The OPP has always had a mandate for land search and rescues in the province,” noted Fort Frances OPP Sgt. Steve Loshaw, adding police wouldn’t request a civilian group unless it was trained to complement the OPP with their searches and rescues.
The biggest area of concern was during snowmobile season, he noted.
Voting members on the board consist of one rep and an alternate from Atikokan, Mine Centre, Fort Frances, Emo, Nestor Falls, and Rainy River, along with two First Nations reps.
The four non-voting members, which all have alternates, include Sgt. Steve Loshaw (OPP), Chief Ralph Fulford (Fort Frances Fire Department), Grace Silander (ambulance supervisor), and Matt Myers (Ministry of Natural Resources).
Anyone interested in more information can contact McCormick at 1-807-597-2150.