The Vehicles of the Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia
Here is a current and historic look at our search and rescue vehicles.
SARBC numbers its vehicles and locations according to a scheme as follows:
- 100 – Fixed Base of Command
- 200 – Mobile Command
- 300 – Boats/Marine
- 400 – Search Vehicles
- 500 – Rescue Vehicles
- 600 – Marine Support Vehicles
- 700 – Air Cushion Vehicles (Hovercraft)
SARBC currently has a fleet of 5 trucks, 4 trailers, and 4 boats.
Chevrolet Tahoe 4×4. Formerly a RCMP Police SSV model. Acquired by the society in 2008. This is the primary response vehicle and is the first out on Project Lifesaver Searches. It is equipped with gear to stabilize a rescue situation if required.
Jeep TJ Rubicon 4×4. This is normally the second truck out for Project Lifesaver searches. This was purchased in 2012 to fill the need for an off road 4×4 when 501 was retired; however, its tight turning radius and manoeuvrability makes it really good for city searches.
GMC Cube Van. This is the search support vehicle. It serves as gear transport and the communication platform. I believe that this van started its life as a Sidney Public Works vehicle after that. We acquired it in the 1990s. It had the motor replaced after a crank shaft broke on the way back from a search in Revelstoke. It has had a mid life refit to ensure its serviceability into the future.
Ford F-350 4×4. We sought out this model and year because we wanted the short box and the turbo diesel. It was converted to a rescue truck and had a bed extender installed. This is the third truck out for Project Lifesaver searches. It has rescue gear including a stretcher on board.
503 also acts as the marine support vehicle and tows the boats for launching.
GMC 5500 4×4. This is the Heavy Rescue Vehicle of SARBC. It carries rope rescue, confined space, auto extrication and USAR equipment. This truck was built with hundreds of volunteer hours. It was a flat deck truck that the box of 502 was transferred on to. This truck has a diesel fuel tank that is large enough to allow it to drive almost anywhere in British Columbia without refuelling. It can transport six SAR members in its spacious cab.
This is our main working platform for marine operations. The operator and navigator are at the stern of the boat and can oversee all the work happening on deck. The registered name is the Blue Heron . SARBC has not changed the name in the marine tradition. The design is a shallow V aluminum and works well for us in larger rivers, lakes and salt water.
This is a Riddle Marine aluminum Jet Boat. It is the model RMX17 with a 200HP Mercury Optimax Sport Jet. The boat is 17 feet long and has a very shallow draft when at speed. This boat was purchased as a replacement for the retired hovercraft and their passenger transport capabilities. 303 also serves as a search platform in bodies of water where 302 is too large to navigate. A recent refit added mufflers for Optimax Sportjet from Silver Streak Boats in Sooke. This has made the boat a better slow speed search platform.
Simply put this is a plastic kayak. It is used for searches of limited access water bodies.
This vessel was launched in 2014 and named the MCD Founder in memoriam of SARBC founder Michael C. Doyle. This is a rigid floor inflatable. Manufactured by Inmar Inflatables. This is a replacement for 301. It is a rapid deploy “bag boat” that can be transported and launched with limited resources.
2004 Interstate. This contains the USAR/structural collapse equipment that goes as support with 504.
Tilt Deck Equipment Transport
2012 Haulrite tilt deck trailer. This trailer is used to transport the heavy rescue hydraulic pumps or fuel containers for remote helicopter operations.
Retired 1989. This was a 1975-76 Chevrolet Suburban. This was the first SARBC vehicle in livery. It was white and blue with the SARBC society logo on the door.
1977 Ford Crew Cab 4×4. Even before this truck was in SARBC livery it was pressed into service during the Victoria blizzard of 1996. It was the platform
from which approximately 36 rescue / medical assists took place in a roughly 72 hour period. You may recognize this photo from reports that came out about the blizzard response. This truck started its life as a pickup for Malloch & Moseley Logging. We think they didn’t find it suitable for logging road driving due to the way it was sprung so it wasn’t in service on the logging roads for too long. Langford Volunteer Fire Department (now Langford Fire Rescue) was the next owner. The truck then made its way to being used north of Kamloops at Barriere Fire Department. It came back home to Victoria in 1996 when SARBC acquired it. After SARBC performed a refit, the truck it went into service.
This truck came from Houston Fire Department in Houston, BC. It was a 1
ton truck chassis with a rescue utility box. This truck was in service until the rescue box was transferred to 504 and then it was retired.
Retired 2005. The “Bus” was the emergency operations centre and went
out on almost every search and rescue incident that SARBC was involved in. When SARBC transitioned to remote management from the office the Bus was used less frequently and then retired in 2005.
The designation of 201 can be used for any vehicle that takes on the role of field command for the Search and Rescue Society of BC.
Retired 2002 – 601 Started its life as a B.C. Ambulance. It spent much of its working career in the Parksville area. It was a Dodge van chassis ambulance that was built by the Victoria Machinery Depot. After it finished as an ambulance it became a support vehicle for the Errington Volunteer Fire Department, near Parksville, BC. SARBC acquired 601 as a marine support vehicle for our dive team. It had utility and was used in ground search operations as well. After its service for SARBC it went to the Ashcroft drag racing track, Nl’akapxm Eagle Motorplex.
This was a Mark 2 Zodiac that was kindly donated to use by a local family. SARBC utilized the extremely portable nature of this boat for many years.
When this boat was retired from our service it was donated to Juan de Fuca Ground Search and Rescue including its trailer.
701 & 702
A vision for hovercraft to fill the need for searcher transport and as a search platform was realized when SARBC acquired twin hovercraft: 701 and 702.
They were used for river searches, transport and other diverse roles.