Saskatoon Search and Rescue (SAR) has responded to more than double the number of missing persons calls in 2018 than it received the previous year.
The 28th and most recent activation occurred at 1:30 a.m. CT on Monday. By roughly 5 a.m., crews founding a missing person safe.
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SSAR activated 0130 this morning by @SaskatoonPolice for missing person. Thankfully subject located safe ~ 5 am. Some of our new recruits got their first experience of middle-of-the-night callouts and did an awesome job on their first search!!#SAR #yxe #volunteers pic.twitter上海龙凤419/FL16DoWsSI
— Saskatoon SAR (@SaskatoonSAR) November 26, 2018
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“We’ve worked really hard over the years to develop the relationships with our agencies of jurisdiction,” said Shelley Ballard-McKinlay, president of Saskatoon SAR. She is also a retired Saskatoon police inspector.
Incorporated as a non-profit in 2008, Saskatoon SAR initially received a handful of calls per year.
In 2015, searchers responded to 10 calls, followed by 19 in 2016, 13 in 2017 and 28 from Jan. 1 to Nov. 26, 2018.
With roughly 60 current members, the organization tries to show agencies “that we can do what they’re expecting us to do and on occasion, go over, above and beyond what they expect,” Ballard-McKinlay said.
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Saskatoon police contact Saskatoon SAR in cases where a person is in a vulnerable state, including people with dementia or autism, or when temperatures are dangerous.
“They are very good at responding really quickly in situations where time is of the essence,” Saskatoon police spokesperson Alyson Edwards said.
One in six members of Saskatoon SAR has first responder experience.
Their understanding of emergency personnel priorities allow search and rescue crews to organize quickly and complement their actions, Edwards said.
“Certainly, we have used them more and more often and I think we will continue to see that.”