To enhance current ground search and rescue (GSAR) capabilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government has announced a $510,000 commitment to purchase a suite of thermal imaging cameras for use by volunteer GSAR teams in the province.
“Ground search and rescue teams in Newfoundland and Labrador are a dedicated group of trained volunteers who assist our province’s police forces when individuals are lost or missing,” said the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “I am pleased to announce this significant advancement in equipment to help improve the critical service offered for the public by volunteer GSAR members in partnership with the police. Today’s announcement builds on investments already in place to support ground search and rescue.”
The funding is being provided to the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association (NLSARA) to purchase thermal imaging camera units and train members in their use. Thermal imaging cameras, also called infrared cameras, detect the heat given off by an object or person and can be used in GSAR operations to improve the probability of a successful rescue.
“Our government is committed to ensuring first responders have appropriate tools to assist them in the important work they do and to further improve the likelihood of saving lives in difficult conditions,” said the Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services. “This new equipment will augment the services provided by ground search and rescue teams throughout Newfoundland and Labrador."
NLSARA represents 25 regional GSAR teams in the province.
“The goal of GSAR team members throughout the province is to, when requested, assist police in their duties and to bring individuals home safely whenever possible,” said Harry Blackmore, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association. “These new cameras will be a critical tool for teams to avail of in carrying out their duties in a search effort. We are pleased to partner with the Provincial Government in acquiring these thermal imagining cameras to build on the assets already available to members.”
The Provincial Government recognizes the importance of ground search and rescue operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, providing an annual operating grant of $75,000 to NLSARA and is currently in the fourth year of a six-year commitment to provide $100,000 annually to fund hovercraft and rigid-hulled boats to further assist in search and rescue operations.