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Posted: August 27, 2020

Local public safety volunteer honoured by province

Six Public Safety Lifeline volunteers are being recognized for their exceptional contributions to emergency and disaster response throughout the province, including Sparwood Search and Rescue’s Ed Ehrler.

Normally, this recognition is conducted as part of National Volunteer Week in April. Due to COVID-19, this year’s celebration will be virtual.

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is recognizing the award recipients via video greeting – a safe way to celebrate the achievements of each volunteer and their contribution to their communities.

“These Public Safety Lifeline volunteer award winners are shining examples of the dedication and selflessness at the centre of emergency response in British Columbia,” Farnworth said. “These are the people who ask for no recognition, but instead leave their families, their friends, their homes and their own lives at any time of day or night, regardless of weather, to help others in their time of need. These are people who demonstrate the best that British Columbia has to offer, and I want to sincerely thank them for their commitment to public safety and their service.”

See Minister Farnworth speak about Ed Ehrler.

These award-winners are a select few among thousands of Public Safety Lifeline volunteers who conduct air and ground search and rescue, help extricate victims trapped by serious motor vehicle accidents, set up communication networks and co-ordinate services for victims of natural disasters.

This year’s award winners are: Search and Rescue – Ed Ehrler, Sparwood; Road Rescue – Don Hunt, Kaslo; Emergency Support Services – Roline Sims, Kamloops; Radio Communications – Les Dawes, Shawnigan Lake; PEP Air – Lynn Van Cadsand, Smithers; Lifetime Achievement Award – Judy Hagen, Heriot Bay.

Public Safety Lifeline volunteers demonstrate a selfless commitment to the safety of B.C. families and communities during emergencies. There are more than 10,000 Public Safety Lifeline volunteers in British Columbia. Last year, they responded to more than 9,000 incidents.

There are approximately 2,500 registered search and rescue volunteers throughout B.C. who respond to more than 1,700 incidents annually. In 95% of cases, subjects are found or rescued within the first 24 hours.

Road Rescue volunteers attend more than 2,000 motor vehicle accidents annually throughout the province. Under the road rescue organization, teams provide vehicle extrication, rope rescue and other specialized rescue services to help protect B.C.’s travelling public.

PEP Air’s primary function is to assist the Canadian Forces in their mandate for aviation search and rescue missions when additional resources are required, and apply these services to ground search and rescue, aerial assessments and movement of personnel and equipment in time of emergency.

The organization includes 75 aircraft crewed by more than 500 pilots, spotters and navigators.

Emergency Support Services, previously named Emergency Social Services, provides short-term assistance to British Columbians who are forced to leave their homes because of fire, floods or other emergencies. This assistance includes food, lodging, clothing, emotional support and family reunification.

Emergency Radio Communications respond when other systems of communications fail. A proven and reliable means of communications, emergency or “ham” radio is a public safety lifeline that helps co-ordinate crisis relief.

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