Halifax Search and Rescue dedicates new rescue vehicle
HALIFAX -- After months of fundraising, Halifax Search and Rescue dedicated its new search vehicle on Saturday – however, it’s more than just a vehicle; it’s an indication that search and rescue operations are changing.
Over 100 people attended a dedication for the new truck on Saturday – including members of government, police, and fire crews. At the event, the vehicle was also smudged and blessed by members of the Mi’kmaw community.
The team’s latest truck is smaller than many of its other vehicles – but that’s by design, as crews say they’re receiving fewer calls for searches and more calls for rescues.
“A lot more people have cell phones, and they're able to call 911, and they say ‘I'm in this area, I'm on this lake,’” says Halifax Search and Rescue chief director, Kara Baisley. “So, we have a general idea of where they are – we only need a small group of people to get in and out.”
The truck bears the name 'Carmen' in memory of Carmen Eisan, a woman who spent years volunteering with the service and willed funds to the organization when she died.
“It’s pretty cool, it really is,” says Eisan’s brother, Andrew Eisan. “I had a heads up that it was coming, but it's kind of cool to see, and it gets me a little teary every time I see it.”
While the truck was dedicated today, it's already been in service. Gillian Hatcher, who was at the dedication, was the first person to be rescued by the vehicle after she fell during a trail run.
“I was so far out, and I knew it would take four hours to walk in and get me at minimum,” says Hatcher. “I knew that I needed someone to come and help because if I had lost consciousness, I don't know what could have happened.”
After Hatcher was rescued she made a decision.
“The first thing I said to them was 'how do I join?'”
The crew currently has over 150 members – all of which are volunteers, performing rescues out of the goodness of their hearts.
“We ask them to come out in the middle of the night in any kind of weather, so there is a risk that you're putting yourself into,” says Baisley. “But they're doing it because they love it and they're doing it because they want to help people.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Emily Barron Cadloff