Top 4 Myths About Search and Rescue Teams

Mar 9, 2020 | help, myths, search and rescue

Myths about search and rescue teams are common, and often prevent lost outdoor explorers from seeking help. Even before heading into nature, the fear of getting lost prevents some from planning an outdoor excursion. 

In reality, we all get lost, whether it’s while driving, in a mall or anywhere we are unfamiliar with. Getting lost in nature can happen, and if it does, know that search and rescue is readily available. 

When camping, hiking, and exploring the outdoors in your favourite way, there are things you need to know about Canada’s search and rescue teams. In this article, we debunk the myths about calling for help if you, or someone you know, is lost in the great outdoors.

Myth 1: You can be found by using your phone

Don’t count on your battery lasting long enough to be found, or having reception where you are. If you venture into vast areas of wilderness, you’ll notice that your phone will show you as a speck amongst a large mass of green, which isn’t helpful in locating you. 

If you happen to have battery life on your phone, a useful app to have is What3Words. This app allocates 3 words to every 3 meters squared of the planet. By calling 911 and giving your 3 words, your location can be pinpointed to your 3 meter radius. 

Your best solution? Heading to to create a trip plan prior to the start of your adventure. Safety starts before you step out the front door. 

Myth 2:  You have to pay to be rescued

There is no known jurisdiction in Canada where you have to pay to be rescued. The hesitation in the thought of having to pay will delay your rescue and possibly put you in danger. Nothing is more important than your health and safety, so contact 911 as soon as you think you, or someone else, is lost or needs help. Delaying a rescue will be expensive for taxpayers, and time is of the essence when wanting to avoid a night time rescue. 

Myth 3:  You have to be a firefighter to join a search and rescue team

Members of ground search and rescue teams are volunteers who join because they believe in the cause of helping everyone get home safe. Often, they are regular folks who have 9-5 jobs and volunteer on their spare time. The dedication includes devoting their time to training and being physically fit. Search and rescue members take their duties seriously as they are unpaid professionals. 

If this appeals to you, please join your local search and rescue team. Just a quick Google search will take you to the right place to get started. 

Myth 4: You have to wait 24 hours

If you or someone you know is believed to be missing, call right away to get help. You don’t have to wait 24 hours before reporting someone as missing, as popularly shown in the media and TV. By getting the search process started quickly, you can avoid fatalities, injuries, and wasting time because if you’re lost, waiting to call for help won’t get you found any quicker. 

Be smart and be safe when enjoying the outdoors, but also know that help is readily available if needed. That’s what the search and rescue team is there for. And, don’t feel embarrassed to call for help because, after all, putting your safety at risk is worse than any embarrassment. 

Thank you to the City of Coquitlam for the above information. The myths above have been cited from their website

Article by Nora Lozano, co-founder of Campertunity, an online peer-to-peer marketplace where landowners can list their land for campers to book for short term stay. Follow Campertunity on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Learn more and find a campsite!: 

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