On Monday, March 19, 2012 Coquitlam Search and Rescue was recognized by Mayor Richard Stewart and the City of Coquitlam council for forty years of service. Also recognized were Dan Cook, for 35 years of service and Ian Cunnings for 30 years of service.
The team was formed in 1972 after a search on Burke Mountain required a SAR team to be called in from another community. The city felt they needed their own team. Originally comprised of police and fire department personnel, the team is now completely staffed with 50 volunteers.
The team’s search area covers 1,600 square kilometres, the largest in the lower mainland. The members are trained in search, swift water rescue, rope rescue, communications, helicopter safety, avalanche awareness, tracking, navigation, wilderness survival, basic first aid, advanced first aid and soon Helicopter Long Line rescue.
To date the team has conducted over 650 tasks. During those tasks the team has found 821 lost people, rescued 68 injured people and recovered 61 bodies. Over 65,000 hours have been logged by Coquitlam Search and Rescue Volunteers on tasks and further countless hours on training.
Also recognized were Dan Cook and Ian Cunnings.
Cook joined the team 35 years ago and retired only recently, however he still assists the team from time to time when requested. In 1982, Dan ran one of the team’s largest searches and served as the team’s first Team Leader (now known as president). Cunnings joined the team 30 years ago and shortly after became a search and rescue manager. Ian’s year of experience in search and rescue resulted in his being hired by the Provincial Emergency Program where he now serves as the Search and Rescue Specialist for Emergency Management BC.
Garry Mancell, President of Coquitlam Search and Rescue received the recognition on behalf of the team. “It was a great honor to represent the team for this recognition”, Mancell said. “Being part of this team has been most satisfying. The dedication of each and every member is unlike anything I have been involved in. People are aware of the work we do during a search or rescue but they don’t hear about the hours spent training and honing our skills to be ready. Dan Cook and Ian Cunnings are examples of the years of dedication many of our members of put in. It is an honor to be a part of this team.”