It may be the end of the summer rescue season for Coquitlam Search and Rescue, but that doesn’t mean the team has nothing to do.
The volunteer society is keeping busy with a pair of initiatives that will strengthen the team for years to come.
The team recently held a recruitment open house, where it received 100 applications from people interested in joining.
From there, another 40 were invited out for what Coquitlam SAR called a “recruitment hike” this past Sunday.
Coquitlam SAR search manager Michael Coyle said the hike was an opportunity to get a better sense of the recruits.
So far, he suggested the team has received a good crop of applicants.
Coyle said the team is looking for six to 12 new members, or as many as 15 if it can get qualified applicants.
He said the team will probably take on 15 new recruits.
“We feel the ones that have applied are pretty good,” Coyle told the Tri-Cities NOW.
“It’s very important to get the right kind of person who understands risk and risk assessment.”
Coyle said the team will be moving ahead with the interview portion of the recruitment, and will likely be making its selection in the next couple of weeks.
The last time Coquitlam SAR held a recruitment drive four years ago, the team received 150 applications.
At that time, the organization picked 17 new members, but the number is now down to 11.
Besides new members, Coquitlam SAR is also looking for a new set of wheels.
The society has started fundraising efforts to raise money for a new command vehicle.
Coyle explained the current vehicle was commissioned in 1995, but over the years with changes in technology, the vehicle has become cramped for space and is at its weight capacity.
He noted the team recently received a donation of five laptops, but can’t store them in the command vehicle because of weight restrictions.
The team considered refurbishing the vehicle, but Coyle said it would cost about the same to get a new one.
“It’s at the point where I do think we need a new one,” he said.
A new truck is expected to cost about $300,000.
Coyle said the team got the idea to replace the truck after a search last summer in which Coquitlam SAR had use of the Port Moody Police Department’s air-conditioned command truck.
Coyle noted that vehicle was a place where rescuers could cool off from the heat during a search.
He said that experience gave the team a taste of what a new platform could look like.
But the society knows it won’t be easy to raise the kind of cash needed.
To get the campaign underway, the team is hoping to raise some of that money through the Aviva Community Fund.
The fund, sponsored by Aviva Insurance, involves a competition for funding community projects and ideas across the country.
The team also intends to apply for provincial gaming grants of up to $100,000.
Coyle said the team could fundraise for a coupe of years before getting enough money to buy the new truck.
To vote for Coquitlam SAR’s Aviva fund bid go to www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf17042.
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