About CSAR

Castlegar Society for Search and Rescue (CSAR) is not for profit society and registered charity that is a professional volunteer land and inland water search and rescue organization, established to provide assistance to those who become lost, injured, or require assistance in the outdoors. For 20 years, CSAR has been providing specialized services generally not offered by other emergency service agencies. Our group is based out of Castlegar and we have 25 active members. On average, our members respond to 12 to 15 incidents per year with 25% of the calls involving water. This number has more than quadrupled over the last 20 years.

Search and rescue services are used extensively in virtually all areas of B.C. to assist in locating and rescuing boaters, children, hunters, loggers, hikers, climbers, skiers, sledders and others. In addition, we provide assistance during local emergencies and evacuations and are the only emergency service workers with the required skill to provide body recovery services in a wilderness area.

Our area of responsibility includes the Castlegar, Areas I and J, the Arrow Lakes, Columbia River, Kootenay River, Pass Creek and west towards Nancy Green. We also assist other search and rescue groups in other West Kootenay/Boundary areas.Picture of rope practice

CSAR services can be requested by many agencies such as the RCMP, BC Ambulance Service, the Coroner’s Office, and local governments including Fire Departments. CSAR is a volunteer organization, much like the volunteer Fire Department except that volunteers do not receive any payment for call-outs. With the current funding arrangement, the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) only provides funding for reimbursement of expenses incurred during call-outs. Many volunteers donate their expense reimbursements back to the team which includes their mileage reimbursement.

Currently, our team specializes in ground search and rescue techniques including rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, and avalanche rescue.