Season Six, Episode Eight – Saskatoon Search and Rescue

There is a group of extremely dedicated and well-trained volunteers in Saskatoon who are always ready to help in a moment’s notice when a person is declared missing. These volunteers make up Saskatoon Search and Rescue and they are not only doing amazing work in our community but the entire province as well. We introduce you to these volunteers in this episode of YXE Underground.

 

There is a group of extremely dedicated and well-trained volunteers in Saskatoon who are always ready to help in a moment’s notice when a person is declared missing. These volunteers make up Saskatoon Search and Rescue and they are not only doing amazing work in our community but the entire province as well. We introduce you to these volunteers in this episode of YXE Underground.

There is a group of extremely dedicated and well-trained volunteers in Saskatoon who are always ready to help in a moment’s notice when a person is declared missing. These volunteers make up Saskatoon Search and Rescue and they are not only doing amazing work in our community but the entire province as well. We introduce you to these volunteers in this episode of YXE Underground.

It’s a Thursday night in late March and I am surrounded by people in orange shirts and sweaters, as well as people who are working hard to earn the right to wear these orange shirts and sweaters, in an old Fire Hall near Aden Bowman Collegiate. 

Specifically, I’m in a meeting room where large maps are spread out on tables and new Saskatoon Search and Rescue trainees are learning how to read these maps.

It’s training day for new recruits of Saskatoon Search and Rescue. It’s an intense process. Whether you are a trainee or a veteran member of the team, you are put through scenarios and taught skills that will empower you to help find people when they go missing in all types of situations.

It really does amaze me that these people commit so much of their time and energy to this group. Since 2019, Saskatoon Search and Rescue have responded to 86 missing person’s activations, mostly at the request of the Saskatoon Police Service. 

Searches can take place in neighbourhoods throughout Saskatoon, along the South Saskatchewan, or in thick forests of northern Saskatchewan. 

As you will hear in this episode, Saskatoon Search and Rescue work closely as a team in order to do their job. 

Sheri Denis and Carla Egan are the two featured guests in this episode. Carla is the Communications Director with the group and is training to be a Saskatoon Search and Rescue Manager. 

Sheri Denis is a volunteer searcher who is also the Director of Project Lifesaver. This unique program protects people who are at risk of wandering in our community. Participants wear personalized wristbands that emit a radio-frequency tracking signal. If a person with a wristband becomes lost, Saskatoon Search and Rescue can use this tracking signal to locate them.

The program started thanks to a very generous donation from the Saskatoon Police Service and the Saskatoon Police Service Foundation, and has grown thanks to the generosity of the community. 

Sheri, who works as an Educational Assistant, puts her heart into this work and I think that comes through in our conversation. She even demonstrates how her sophisticated equipment works! 

By day, Carla Egan works in a long-term care home here in Saskatoon as a recreation coordinator. Tonight, she is proudly wearing an orange Saskatoon Search and Rescue shirt and jacket. 

Carla worked really hard to earn her place on the team. 

In the fall of 2020, she saw a social media post from Saskatoon Search and Rescue looking for new members. Her kids were becoming more independent and her background of working with people with dementia gave her the confidence to think she could help. 

Nearly four years later, Carla says she has grown in so many ways thanks to her training and made friends with people from all walks of life.

Carla shares some very powerful stories in our conversation and how her colleagues are always there to support each-other when the job gets difficult.

I want to mention that Saskatoon Search and Rescue is a non-profit organization and relies on donations and grants for its funding. The organization’s biggest fundraising event takes place on Monday, April 22nd at the Broadway Theatre. It is hosting the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival which is made up of some amazing films celebrating unique outdoor films. 

Tickets are 20 dollars each and you can purchase them on the Broadway Theatre’s website or at the door. I have my tickets and hope to see you there!

Thank you so much for listening to this episode and for continuing to support a local, independent podcast here in Saskatoon. Don’t forget to leave a 5-star review if you like what you hear and please share this episode and the podcast with your friends!

Cheers…Eric 

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