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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

Nelson's Diana Morita Cole is the keynote speaker of the KDocsFF film festival. Photo: Submitted
Nelson author Diana Morita Cole to speak at film festival

She will share a virtual stage with actor George Takei

Some of the folks behind Angel Flight East Kootenay: Todd Weselake is a director, partner and pilot while Brent Bidston is the president and lead pilot of the not-for-profit. Pictured here with their older plane, they hope to get an upgrade for thanks to RDEK funding. (Image courtesy of Angel Flight East Kootenay)
Angel Flight secures RDEK funding for next five years

$100,000 will go to the not-for-profit each year, with the funds to be used to acquire a larger plane

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read