Some 10,000 ground search and rescue (SAR) operations take place in Canada each year. These searches are the responsibility of provincial and territorial governments and are led by police services. To cover Canada’s expansive geography, SAR programs turn to some 9,000 volunteers who are part of more than 300 trained responder teams. These teams have the specialized training and expertise, equipment, and local knowledge to provide the “boots on the ground” that help find missing people.

With their training and expertise, these volunteers go where they’re needed and are also called to provide assistance at local or national levels during emergencies like wildfires, floods, and tornadoes. And yet, despite the necessity of this role and nation-wide sharing of resources, there was no national standard for these volunteers until 2015.

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