Barriere Search and Rescue moves into new digs

Search and Rescue are finally home in a brand new building on Barriere Town Road

The new Search and Rescue (S&R) hall is now open for business on Barriere Town Road.  Pictured are Search and Rescue members (l-r) Tim Hoffman

The new Search and Rescue (S&R) hall is now open for business on Barriere Town Road. Pictured are Search and Rescue members (l-r) Tim Hoffman

After two years of fundraising and hard work Barriere Search and Rescue are finally home in a brand new building on Barriere Town Road.

For many years the group have leased a meeting hall on Fouquet Road.  When the rescue truck was purchased it was stored in a number of places; a few years ago they no longer had access to a secure garage, and the result was vandalization and theft from the vehicle, which in itself is valued at approximately $120,000 for the truck and equipment that it carries.  The Barriere Fire Department then made room to store the vehicle temporarily in their hall until a secure garage could be found or constructed.

Search and Rescue (S&R) director Tim Hoffman says, “It was pretty much a two year process for us to get funding in place for a building.  Then we had to come up with a design, a contractor, and we finally got started on construction in October of  2015.”

He says that nothing would have got started if the District of Barriere hadn’t provided the lot, which was the boost they needed to proceed.  Total cost of the building comes in at around $120,000, with $55,000 provided from the Lower North Thompson Community Forest Society, $15,000 of generous in-kind donations and the balance from fundraising efforts by the S&R members.  He notes that the group were especially touched by the folks over at Barriere House who decorated their facility for Christmas and won an Interior Savings prize of $100 for their efforts, which they then donated to the S&R building fund.

Hoffman says the assistance they received from the construction company Tyand Builders and Dave Ewert was exceptional.  He also thanks other supporters of the project; Rona Building Supplies, Quality Contractors, Convoy Building Supply, Action Concrete Pumping, Barriere Timber Mart, Thompson Valley Awards, Anchor Door & Window, Kamloops Truss, KB Energy Alternatives Ltd, Warner Rental, Mike Graves, OK Ready Mix, W777 Holdings Ltd., DJ’s Plumbing, and Mitchell Ranches. And he thanks the volunteers who did the painting and landscaping.

“We are all done now,” Hoffman said last Thursday when the truck was moved in to its new home.  “All we have left to do is get the phone lines and radio system in,  set up some signage on the building and move all of our gear over from the old hall.”

The new two-bay building is 1500 sq. ft. with  a washroom and shower area that is handicap friendly, a small office and an electrical maintenance room.  The hall is currently heated with electricity, but Hoffman notes that once the Wastewater Treatment Plant that sits behind the S&R building is up and running it will provide radiant heating to the floors and will provide a large savings on heat.

Even with the rescue truck and equipment trailer parked inside their is still plenty of room for tables and chairs where meetings, training sessions, and more can take place.

Currently Barriere Search and Rescue have 25 members with approximately 10-15 that are really active. Hoffman says they would like to see the membership rise to at least 40 for the size of the area they serve, and the group is currently holding a membership drive.  Members must be at least 16 years of age, and must be 19 years of age to participate in highway rescue calls.

However, Hoffman is quick to point out that members can do both tracking searches and highway rescue, or just tracking, or just highway rescue; while others are needed for communications, training and managing searches.

“We especially need someone to take on the position of search manager,” adds S&R director Ken Harris, “This person stays at the base station during a search and we are more than willing to train someone who is interested in taking this on.”

Barriere S&R averages 55 highway call outs a year and approximately 10 search call outs.  But, due to a lack of available trained searchers they sometimes have to pass the call over to Clearwater or Kamloops.

Harris tells that the group has a number of training sessions planned for the upcoming months; right now there is ground search training that can be started online,  and there is an auto extrication course planned for the spring.

Hoffman notes Barriere Search and Rescue will be holding an open house in March to thank the community and all who helped construct the building.

“We want to invite all of our supporters so we can say thank you.”

If you would like more information on Barriere Search and Rescue or how you can become a member contact Tim Hoffman at 250-672-9972 or Ken Harris at 250-672-9705.