National Search and Rescue Program
The National Search and Rescue Program (NSP) is a Canada-wide horizontal program that integrates organizations and resources involved in the provision of search and rescue (SAR) services to Canadians, including SAR response and prevention. The responsibility for the NSP resides within Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, through the National Search and Rescue Secretariat (NSS). The NSS' role is to serve as a central coordinator for the National SAR Program, working directly with federal, provincial/territorial as well as air, ground and marine volunteer SAR organizations involved in search and rescue activities
The National Search and Rescue Program is founded on two pillars, prevention and response with the following vision:
A Canada where the critical importance of Search and Rescue is reflected in a multi-jurisdictional approach to promoting individual, collective and organizational behaviour that minimizes the risk of injury or loss of life while maintaining timely and effective response services.
Within Canada, SAR activities span a multitude of jurisdictions:
- The Canadian Armed Forces are responsible for aeronautical incidents;
- The Canadian Coast Guard is responsible for marine incidents;
- Parks Canada is responsible within national parks; and
- Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for searches for missing persons including those who are lost or overdue on land or inland waters - commonly known as Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR), and often delegated to the police service of jurisdiction.
- 15,000 specially trained air, ground and marine SAR volunteers provide response assistance to the authorities and deliver prevention messaging to the Canadian public to help minimize the frequency and severity of SAR incidents. The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) assists the Royal Canadian Air Force for aeronautical SAR; the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CCGA) assists the Canadian Coast Guard in marine SAR; and the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada (SARVAC) assists police forces of jurisdictions for ground based SAR.
Notwithstanding these various jurisdictions, the National SAR Program attempts to achieve integration and interoperability amongst partners. Prevention, investigation, education, regulation and enforcement efforts span multiple jurisdictions, necessitating a shared responsibility for safety.
The National SAR Program bridges the efforts of federal, provincial, territorial, and local search and rescue authorities, as well as the contributions of the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and the volunteer community towards a common goal: saving lives. The framework is supported by government at all levels, first responders, and a trained network of SAR volunteers to provide a comprehensive safety net for Canadians.
- Quadrennial Search and Rescue Review
- Archived Awards of Excellence – Recipients
- Search and Rescue Knowledge Management System
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