THUNDER BAY – Lakehead Search and Rescue has a new Mobile Command Centre. After a lengthy fundraising campaign, Lakehead Search and Rescue now has a shiny new 20’state of the art Command Centre built in Ontario. “With this new Mobile Command Centre, LSRU will be given the opportunity to increase its efficiency and, thus, be better able to serve the citizens of the City of Thunder Bay and Region,” according to Search and Rescue Volunteer Association Canada.
Dedicated primarily to search and rescue activities, volunteer members have searched for lost or missing hunters, fishermen, hikers, berry and mushroom pickers, and hospital patients. LSR members receive absolutely no reimbursement for time, lodging, meals, transportation, or personal equipment costs related to searches or other community service activities. “A non-profit volunteer community service dedicated to search and rescue.”
LSR was officially incorporated to serve the people of Thunder Bay and the surrounding area more than fifty (50) years ago. It is a group of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who are trained in search techniques to assist the local police agencies in finding people who are lost or stranded.
The new Mobile Command Centre replaces the old cube van. The existing equipment had deteriorated to the point that it was no longer feasible to incur the ongoing maintenance costs. The new unit is a trailer that can be hauled by an LSR vehicle or by a member’s vehicle. The trailer will also significantly reduce insurance, ongoing maintenance and fuel costs.
The new Mobile Command Centre boasts a 20’ trailer with tandem axles; jack system; insulated walls, ceiling and floor; 2 access doors; tinted windows; roof vents; LED load lights throughout; DOT approved lighting; cabinetry; kitchen; heating and cooling; in-floor D rings; communications’ mast; radio communication; computer monitors; colour printer, satellite imagery; OPP compatible GPS tracking system; and generator.
This unique multi-purpose Mobile Command Centre will provide significant benefits for all searches in the Northwestern Ontario Region. It will:
- ensure that LSR can better serve Thunder Bay and the surrounding area through interoperability by providing the services of trained search and rescue volunteers;
- coordinate and consult with police agencies;
- coordinate and consult with fire/rescue services;
- increase the success rate of results from searching;
- consolidate equipment transportation needs to one single unit;
- assist with public events, such as the CanadaDay celebration and Teddy Bears’ Picnic for Child Find activities;
- facilitate ongoing training and development to meet mandated standards;
- reduce ongoing operating and maintenance costs for local and regional organizations;
- increase administrative and training efficiencies;
- allow for the ongoing development of research and investigative expertise;
- improve public safety by allowing for coordinated, multi-disciplinary training exercises by first response teams;
- provide the opportunity to offer ongoing training;
- create and maintain consistent high-performance safety standards;
- create and maintain consistent high-performance standards among volunteers and organizations;
- reduce the high costs of travel, accommodations, and with limited budgets;
- increase the overall training opportunities; and
- enhance training for search and rescue in the Northwest Region.
In addition to searching, LSR provides survival education and training to the workforce and the public and supports community programs such as the Child Find Program and the Teddy Bears Picnic. Additionally, Project Life Saver has been implemented. LSR is strongly committed to building healthy community vitality, and safety and environmental education are at the core of all endeavors.
The Search and Rescue Survival course, provided yearly, is a full credit subject offered at the Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology. It has classroom instruction, outdoor events, such as an overnight exercise, and completes with written and practical examinations.
Thanks to the following donors who have supported this project:
- Confederation College of Applied Arts and Technology
- Frank Cava Golf Tournament
- Hi-Impact Signs
- Hydro 1
- Investors’ Group
- Lakehead Search and Rescue Members
- Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters
- Ontario Power Generation
- Ontario Provincial Police Association
- OPSEU Local 731
- Resolute Forest Products’ Employees
- Retired Teachers of Ontario
- Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
- Thunder Bay Hydro
- Thunder Bay Police Association
- Thunder Bay Police Services Board
- Union Gas