Search and Rescue Coordinator Position (Synopsis)

Royal Canadian Mounted Police—'G' Division

Description: Coordinating search and rescue (SAR) operations is challenging in the Northwest Territories because of the vast territory, extreme weather conditions and high police turnover. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ‘G’ Division created the SAR Coordinator position in 2003 to provide a single point of contact and a coordinated response for all SAR calls within the Northwest Territories.

When calls are received for search and rescue, they are directed to the SAR Coordinator, who then mobilizes and coordinates the search. The SAR Coordinator is able to use resources within the RCMP or from other outside agencies such as the Canadian Coast Guard and civilian search and rescue groups. The coordinator is also responsible for training all RCMP officers in the Northwest Territories in the operation of snowmobiles, ATVs, water transport and winter survival.
Objective: The SAR Coordinator position was created to provide faster, more consistent, streamlined responses to search and rescue in the Northwest Territories through a single point of contact. Limited duration postings in the Northwest Territories have contributed to high turnover rates of RCMP officers. Having a coordinator ensures that service to residents remains consistent and is not dependent on the knowledge or experience of the officers receiving the call.
Outcomes: An internal evaluation found that the division now has a faster and better-coordinated response to all search and rescue calls. The single point of contact ensures that the best decisions are made in the shortest period of time. Detachment members also have the benefit of 24/7 support for SAR responses through the SAR Coordinator.

Before the SAR Coordinator position was created, individual detachments were responsible for conducting search and rescue operations for incidents reported to them. The detachments may not have had access to the resources needed for different search and rescue circumstances, and some may not have known whom to contact for those resources. Search and rescue operations in the Northwest Territories now feature a quick response, local knowledge, inter-agency partners and well-trained RCMP personnel.
Resources: ‘G’ Division required funding for one full-time civilian SAR Coordinator specialized in training and search and rescue.
Province: Northwest Territories
Record Entry Date: 2013-08-01
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