North Shore Rescue is gearing up for another busy winter, but it has taken more preparation than usual this year.
Over a two week period in the summer, thieves broke into four emergency equipment caches in the backcountry, vandalizing and looting more than $20,000 worth of gear.
North Shore Rescue has come up with a new solution to protect thousands of dollars worth of gear and save the lives of those in trouble in the backcountry.
“There’s a huge problem with funding, getting air time and we’re at a point where we’ve resolved the problem. We’ve replaced the locks with higher grade commercial locks,” says the group’s leader Michael Danks.
The new locks will help keep the equipment safe, but it won’t help those who are stranded since they won’t be able to access the life-saving gear.
“If people do make it to these caches there’s no way for us to know that they’re there. We’re basically playing the waiting game, waiting for them to be reported missing then we have to go through an investigation to try and determine where they are,”says Danks.
The volunteer organization would like to have several caches equipped with an alert device which can be activated by someone in need of rescue.
Danks says the purpose of the alert device is to inform members of the volunteer rescue organization that someone is at the cache and in need of help, but cost is an issue.
The price range to outfit the caches with some kind of signaling device would be approximately $35,000 to $40,000.
“You have to factor in the air time to get into these locations, we have to fabricate the cache and we have to have the technology and the solar panels to make it all work,” adds Danks.
But the non-profit organization does not have the funds for the alert system since it’s already operating on a shoestring budget of government grants and donations from the public.
If you would like to donate to North Shore Rescue you can do so online.
With files from Elaine Yong.