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What is Wrong with Search and Rescue in Canada?

posted 10 Feb 2013, 07:03 by Micha @SARMobile
It has been some months since we have posted any updates to our site. We haven't been idle. Our developers have been busy building great features on the new BlackBerry 10 platform. But what I want to talk about here is the research we have been doing into the question posed above. What is wrong with search and rescue in Canada?

First let me be clear on one point. At we have the utmost respect for the abilities, training, dedication and bravery of Search and Rescue workers in Canada and around the world. What ever problems exist, they don't originate with the front line workers, search and rescue technicians or volunteers, who are just trying to learn and apply the skills to save those in need.

It is just as clear that there are problems. The memory of Burton Winters remains fresh among those who were close to him, or who keenly felt his loss. Those people perceive that there are problems in the system. Our own research has turned up documentation of problems on the search and rescue technology front; our specialty. Perhaps it is appropriate that our research has come to fruition so near the anniversary of Burton Winter's death. Perhaps it is also appropriate that this coincides with the tenth anniversary of the loss of NASA shuttle
Columbia. What we have discovered about the Canadian search and rescue system indicates problems that are very similar to those that plagued NASA and led to that loss; and similar as well to the problems that led to the loss of Challenger.

Over the coming weeks we will publish articles describing how misunderstanding, or misusing technology during search and rescue operations has resulted the delay of rescuers arriving at the scene of a least one airplane crash in Canada. We will examine two electronic search techniques that have been included in search and rescue training, and used to search for active Emergency Locator Transmitters even though these techniques are of questionable usefulness. We will examine how questionable techniques find their way into the repertoire of search and rescue units through first hand accounts. And finally we will examine what managers and leaders do when informed that they are using questionable techniques. Through these articles we will delve into radio communications, sun spot activity, the aurora borealis, antennas, and how all of that interacts with airborne search platforms. I am confident that once you have read these articles you will have a clear idea of one type of problem that confronts search and rescue in Canada.

Safety is no accident.