Castlegar Search and Rescue members practicing their skills at the Kinnaird Bluffs. Photo: submitted

Castlegar Search and Rescue members practicing their skills at the Kinnaird Bluffs. Photo: submitted

Why search and rescue is a free, non-judgmental service in B.C.

Castlegar Search and Rescue talks about why they do what they do

Submitted by Castlegar Search and Rescue

There is absolutely no cost for the life-saving services offered by search and rescue organizations in B.C., including the West Kootenay Search and Rescue teams, even though some might believe otherwise.

Teams in the West Kootenay Region include: Castlegar SAR, Nelson SAR, Grand Forks SAR, South Columbia (Fruitvale) SAR, Rossland SAR, Arrow Lakes (Nakusp) SAR, Kaslo SAR and Creston Valley SAR.

Castlegar Search and Rescue wants to remind everyone and anyone who recreates in the outdoors that there is no fee or charge for its service, regardless of the outcome.

“I’m sure there’s more than one person who has hesitated to call because they’re embarrassed of the situation they got themselves into,” says Milane Kutcher, one of Castlegar Search and Rescue’s managers.

“We do our training to help people in need, regardless of why they got into that trouble.”

“We feel if people believe there is a charge, they’re going to be more hesitant to call. We would really hate to see what could be a rescue situation turn into a body recovery situation because of that.”

Some people don’t always respond positively to the news of successful rescues, and believe the located individual should be charged for the service. It appears they feel that people are knowingly getting themselves into trouble, obviously Castlegar Search and Rescue feels that is a misconception.

If people knowingly go into an out-of-bounds area, some people believe that they’re taking their own risk, and they should be charged for it if they’re choosing to make that decision, whereas Castlegar SAR believe accidents happen, everyone is entitled to go have fun, and everybody is entitled to search and rescue help if it’s needed.

In addition to the fear of being charged for the service, embarrassment can also play a big role in people hesitating to call for help.

If you’re lost or injured out recreating, our goal is to help get you home safe. We don’t care why. We’ll do it without judgement. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody can get injured. That kind of stuff doesn’t discriminate.

Regardless of the scenario or one’s relation to a lost person, calling as soon as possible can save their life.

You should call as soon as you think somebody is missing or in trouble, and it doesn’t matter if you’re close family, a friend, or a casual acquaintance. If you think someone is in trouble, call right away.

To help ensure you stay safe, please visit There are great planning ideas on this site. Access the Adventure Smart Trip Plan free app at

No one ever expects to get into trouble outdoors. But a turn in the weather, mistake in judgment, unexpected injury, equipment failure, or sudden nightfall can quickly change any recreational outing into a crisis. Does anyone know where you have gone and when you expect to return?

With the AdventureSmart Trip Plan app you can easily create trip plans and send them to your family and friends. The app is available free in the Apple App Store for iOS devices and on Google Play for Android devices, and can also be accessed from any web browser.

To request help from Castlegar Search and Rescue, call 911.