Special Services Unit

Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia Special Services Unit

SARBC - Special Services Unit
Special Services Unit

The Mission Statement of the Special Services Unit (SSU) is to provide resources and equipment not normally available on a wilderness missing person incident.

The Special Services Unit is the physical response arm of the Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia.

The Special Services Unit has three divisions:

AHD – Advanced Human Detection Division

TSD – Technical Services Division

RMD – Rescue and Marine Division

Special Services Unit Side Scan SONAR
Special Services Unit – Marine Division

Please note that it is not SARBC’s intention to replace or substitute local search and rescue teams in BC.  The SSU is there to augment and assist the local SAR effort with resources and equipment that may not be normally available to local public safety agencies in BC.

The Special Services Unit was created by the Search and Rescue Society of BC in 1991.  The SSU follows a command structure which includes: Chief of Operations, Deputy Chief of Operations and Division Commanders.  The Special Services Unit is 100% volunteer and consists of members with multiple, complementary skill sets.

While most wilderness search teams prefer daylight, the SSU teams are far more effective at night in the wilderness search environment. This night shift approach interfaces well with other on-site search teams.  It utilizes operational periods that might otherwise go unused which increased the amount of searching that is accomplished as a search carries on.

The objective of the SSU in wilderness SAR incidents is to save lives first and when that is not possible to provide closure to the families and friends of wilderness missing persons.  We do not want to create friction with other response personnel.  SAR teams in BC do a great job at wilderness searching when a subject goes missing.  The SSU can add another layer of techniques that will improve the likelihood of a positive outcome in the search.  The bottom line of the SSU is that we are there to help.  SSU can facilitate the interfacing of advanced SAR methods into difficult search situations within BC.