Search and rescue conference in Rocky Mountain House to draw hundreds

Search and rescue experts from as far as Iceland to attend September conference

Hundreds of search and rescue experts from as far away as Iceland will gather in Rocky Mountain House in September for an international conference.

It is a bit of a coup for a community the size of Rocky Mountain House to land the conference, which will include representatives from the U.S., Great Britain and other countries for three days, beginning Sept. 13.

Rocky Mountain House Search & Rescue hosted a mountain rescue conference in Nordegg last year, but this takes it to another level, said Search and Rescue Alberta president Monica Ahlstrom.

“(The conference) is quite a bit larger and focuses on all the disciplines in search and rescue — in this case, air, land and marine,” said Ahlstrom.

It will be co-hosted by the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada.

A larger roster of speakers is lined up, including a former head of the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, who will talk about the response to some of the natural disasters, such as hurricane Katrina, the country has faced.

Another speaker was involved in the dramatic rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand last year.

Other topics to be covered include using drones in search and rescue, urban searching, how to deal with cold water and hypothermia and forensic bone identification.

There will also be plenty of hands-on training, including techniques for tracking people and helicopter rescues, which Ahlstrom’s company, Ahlstrom Air Ltd., has expertise in.

The Calgary Police Service is also planning to demonstrate its equestrian and mountain bike capabilities.

Ahlstrom said the theme of this year’s conference is wilderness search and rescue disaster response, a discipline in which the 40 or so Rocky Mountain House Search & Rescue volunteers excel.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for teams to hear about outside experiences from outside organizations and how they have dealt with search and rescue in other parts of Canada and other parts of the world.”

The event will also give local volunteers, including members of Red Deer County’s Technical Rescue Task Force, an opportunity to show off the skills they have used countless times to help people in trouble.

Funding help is expected to come from Clearwater County, the Town of Rocky Mountain House, and the federal and provincial governments. Volunteers are also doing their own fundraising.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

A young new Canadian holds a flag as she takes part in a citizenship ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Open arms in an era of closed borders: pandemic-era immigration plan to be released

Backlogs are amassing that could take years to clear up

A sign at a Starbucks Coffee store in south Seattle is shown, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. Starbucks saw faster-than-expected recovery in the U.S. and China in its fiscal fourth quarter, giving it confidence as it heads into the holiday season. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a press conference during the COVID pandemic in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. More federal financial support is on its way to help Indigenous people and communities cope with the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Feds to unveil more pandemic support for Indigenous communities

Another $650 million to help Indigenous communities

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

k
Letter to the editor: Kenney should know what he’s taking from handicapped

Re: “Camp for developmentally disabled loses funding,” Oct. 29. Today is a… Continue reading

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Workers at Olymel's Red Deer pork processing plant are among those eligible for a $2-an-hour bonus because of the pandemic.
Red Deer Advocate file photo
Two Olymel workers test positive for COVID-19 in Red Deer

Two workers at Olymel’s pork processing facility in Red Deer have tested… Continue reading

In this file photo, Nicholas Bennett was one of 13 swimmers set to compete for Canada at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games this summer. (Swimming Canada photo)
Swimming Canada urges pools to accommodate youth, says can be done safely

Participation of nine and 10-year-olds down 60 per cent

Team Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue poses with the Brier Tankard trophy after defeating Team Alberta in the Brier curling final in Kingston, Ont., on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Gushue experienced mixed emotions as he prepared to throw practice stones for the first time this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Lesbian couple Yi Wang, right, and Yumi Meng pose during a military mass weddings ceremony in Taoyuan city, northern Taiwan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Two lesbian couples tied the knot in a mass ceremony held by Taiwan’s military on Friday in a historic step for the island. Taiwan is the only place in Asia to have legalized gay marriage, passing legislation in this regard in May 2019.(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
Two same-sex couples in military marry in first for Taiwan

Only place in Asia to have legalized same-sex marriage

Paris Jackson poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2020, to promote her debut solo album “Wilted,” releasing on Nov. 13. Her new single “Let Down” drops Friday, Oct. 30. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Paris Jackson mines her heartache for solo debut album

11 songs on the concept album ‘Wilted’

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers, 25-17

Most Read