Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia

Founded 1983.  Proudly Non-Government.  100% Volunteer Society.  Registered charity.  Direct access community service provider.

Search and Rescue Society of BC is a partner of Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday 2017

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday.

Be Part of Something BIG.

Do Good Stuff #GivingTuesdayCa
Together We Can Bring Them Home
Candle in the Window
Project Lifesaver
In colonial times the candle was placed in windows when a family member was away.Preventing Tragedy, Saving Lives

In conjunction our alliance partners SARBC is able to offer specialized human detection resources to aid in the resolve of a missing person incident that are simply not normally available for the ground search effort.

These include a wide range of resources that include but are most definitely not limited to: life detection ground penetrating RADAR, specialized high resolution SONAR systems, underwater ROVs, wilderness forensic identification, night search systems that include alternate spectrum search equipment, active passage detection confinement systems, specialized canine search resources, high resolution thermal imaging and more.

No single organization can have all of the answers or resources when it comes to locating those that have become lost. It is for this reason that SARBC maintains strategic alliances with other similar purpose NGO’s.

Alliances foster cooperative collaboration, increase the range of services available and reduce costly equipment duplication.

It maybe infrequent that such specialized resources are required to locate a missing person but every missing person deserves to be found and every family deserves closure.

SARBC offers the proven international lifesaving Project Lifesaver® Program to those in our community who are most at risk.

The Project Lifesaver® program not only helps prevent the vulnerable from going missing it drastically reduces the search time and resources to find them if they do. SARBC is proud to not only be a Project Lifesaver® response agency but also the Provincial Coordinator and Western Canada Air Training Facility for Project Lifesaver®.

As of 2017 SARBC has received 19 rescue commendations, issued by Project Lifesaver International®, for lives saved. Those lives saved ranged from children with Autism to seniors living with Dementia.

Termed the “Gold Standard in Excellence” throughout the special needs SAR community, Project Lifesaver is the trusted and proven most effective program dedicated to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive conditions that cause the life-threatening behavior of wandering.

Project Lifesaver is second to none – it was first and is the only program of its kind, and has been the inspiration for many locating devices currently on the market; though no other organization has been able to replicate the effectiveness & reliability!

As SARBC is a non-government (NGO) service provider it receives no operational financial support from tax revenues.  We are not reimbursed for expenses incurred while on a search, nor are our occupational, vehicle, insurance or equipment costs covered.

Our Services exist to help save lives, without your support we can’t.

SARBC operates solely on the generosity of others.

Please help us to help those who really need it.  Together we can bring them home.



About the Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia

Overhead Management Team

For an external request, the Overhead Management team provides analysis and recommendations only. A second opinion, if you will. For an internal response (SARBC is lead agency), the Overhead Management Team is responsible for all aspects of managing the Incident. Everything from interviews to incident command to base camp operations and logistics is covered by the team. The Overhead Management Team does NOT assume the role of Management during an external response request. Seldom does the Overhead Management Team even arrive on scene. We are set up to respond from our Victoria Base using modern communications equipment to direct the data to be analyzed from the field via a BC wide communications system.

Analysis Unit

A specialized team gathers all possible information about a missing subject/s and processes this information using deductive reasoning. The processed information is run through various computer programs and the results are then sent directly to the field search managers. A minimum of five Analysis members are required per operational period not including the trained interviewers and computer operators. All missing person analysis incidents follow an established pre-plan and operational procedures and policies. The Analysis team generally works out of the Victoria office due to the vast resources required but is field ready with modular equipment if required. The Analysis Division uses traditional and non-traditional search analysis procedures to combine all of the available information into workable search solutions. The Division exists to give search managers a second opinion.

Special Services Unit

The Special Services Unit is the physical response arm of the Society. The Mission Statement of the Unit is to “provide resources not normally available on a wilderness missing person Incident. In addition to traditional search training, the Team is trained in advanced human detection techniques, confinement systems, underwater search and recovery systems and Project Lifesaver.


Project Lifesaver

With over 3000 rescues and an average elapsed time to locate the missing person under 30 minutes, the statistics speak for themselves.  For those with Alzheimers, Dementia, Autism, Downs and other cognitive disorders.

Candle in the Window

Better known as a “court of last appeal” or “search of last appeal”.  A systematic approach to assist in determining an IPP. Designed for Incidents where a search utilizing traditional methods has not provided resolve.

Lost in the Woods

This Child Survival program is presented to students, cubs, guides, parents and interest groups across North America.  It is not a “Hug a Tree” program. It goes into more detail and adds more Rules for Survival.  The presentation is about one hour and thirty minutes.  The maximum group size is about one hundred and twenty (or whatever the instructor can handle).  The film, “Lost in the Woods II” (re-produced by SARBC in 2005), is shown as part of the presentation.  Experiments taken from the book, “Lost in the Woods” by Colleen Politano, are done during each session.


Land SAR

  • Active Confinement Systems
  • Unsearched Segment Active Monitoring
  • Airborne Thermal Imaging
  • Land based Thermal Scanning
  • Enhanced Night Sign Detection
  • Field Forensic Techniques
  • Subsurface Imaging: Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR)
  • Void Detection
  • Human Remains Detection
  • Subsurface Imaging: Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR)

Pre and Post Search Suspension

  • Differential Sign Analysis
  • Shifting Probability Analysis
  • Subject and Terrain Analysis
  • Customized Behavioural Profile Examination
  • Layered POD Analysis
  • Differential Sign Analysis
  • Subject Situational Analysis
  • POA Justification
  • Red Team Tactical Analysis
  • Analysis to Support Suspension
  • Probability Audit

Underwater Search

  • Done in conjunction with traditional surface and shore SAR techniques.
  • Analysis / Research
  • Wide Area Scanning
  • Potential Target Analysis
  • Narrow Area Scanning (high resolution)
  • Target Confirmation
  • Target recovery
  • Towed Side Scan SONAR
  • Large Area Multiple Fish Towed Metal Detection
  • Dropped Scanning SONAR
  • Towed / Dropped High Resolution Video
  • Submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with Manipulator and Cutter
  • Ground Penetrating RADAR (frozen surface)

Confined Space

Systems and techniques generally utilized in conjunction with local area SAR and first responders in the first four rescue stages. Search of areas and locations not intended for habitation. Tools utilized by the SSU: SCBA Systems, Toxic and Explosive gas detection, Ventalation equipment, Ultra-Wideband RADAR (life detection)

Structural Collapse

Systems and techniques generally utilized in conjunction with local area SAR and first responders in the first four rescue stages. Phases; size up, hazard mitigation, planning, primary (wide area) search, narrow area search, subsurface search, subject location. Structural Stabilization to enable searching Trapped person location Systems utilized by the SSU: Acoustic detectors, Void detector, Thermal scanning, Thermal imaging, Ultra-Wideband RADAR (life detection), Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR), Video (snake, probe, drop), Geophone active monitoring, Drop microphones (2 way)


Contact SARBC

SSU Operations Resource Assistance

BC Wide 24 hour:  1-800-663-6106
Greater Victoria 24 hour: 250-383-1011

Greater Victoria Project Lifesaver Response

Greater Victoria 24 hour: 250-383-1011

SARBC Society

Society and General Information: 250-384-6696

Office and Mailing Address

23 Burnside Rd West
Victoria, BC
V9A 6Z7 Canada


General Inbox: sarbc@sarbc.org
Or use our contact form.