Alberni Valley Rescue Squad (AVRS)
AVRS is made up of dedicated volunteers who train in both urban and wilderness search and rescue techniques.
AVRS was incorporated in 1956 and has continuously provided search and rescue services to the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District since that time. AVRS is, in fact, two organizations that go by the same name and consist of the same people: the society and the operational search organization. The society is controlled by the normal society officers and directors and reports to the Provincial Government under the Societies Act. The operational search organization is controlled by the Search Managers and reports directly to the Provincial Emergency Program (PEP) for its actions.
AVRS has conducted hundreds of missions throughout the district and surrounding areas under the command of the RCMP. AVRS came under the auspices of the PEP in the early 1970s and works closely with other search and rescue groups, the RCMP and other PEP organizations. AVRS was heavily involved in the 1964 tsunami.
AVRS owns its own 4,000 square foot building and all of its equipment including a 21-foot rigid hull zodiac. The land the building sits on was purchased from the City of Port Alberni for a nominal fee. As of 2005, AVRS completed the purchase of a new Command and Equipment truck.
AVRS continues to adapt to new technology and has computerized many of its administrative and command functions. AVRS participates in many community functions in a safety or demonstrative role and actively promotes the “Hug-a-Tree to Survive” program to elementary school children. AVRS is financed through donations, fund-raising events, grants from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, expense reimbursement from PEP and gaming.
AVRS is part of the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District Emergency Program and is available to assist other emergency services in the event of an earthquake, building collapse or any other disaster affecting the area where specialized skills are required. In addition, AVRS provides wilderness search and rescue services for the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and mutual aid to other search and rescue groups in British Columbia.
All training is conducted under the auspices of PEP regulations and the standards developed by the Justice Institute of British Columbia. AVRS trains weekly on Wednesday nights from September until June. Specialized Tracking Training is conducted on Thursday nights along with occasional weekend training. AVRS concentrates its training on the wilderness skills outlined below and has members trained in all of the specialized skills listed. Urban rescue training is conducted as time allows. All members are expected to attend and pass the Ground Search and Rescue Course and maintain a First Aid qualification.
The membership comes from every section of the local population. By its Constitution, AVRS can only have 49 members. Persons wishing to become a member must fill out an application and be sponsored by a member, submit to a Criminal Records check, be voted into the society and pay a nominal fee of $10.00.
More information on the Alberni Valley Rescue Squad can be obtained
by calling the AVRS Hall and leaving a message at (250) 723 3260 or