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Coquitlam SAR beefs up rescue repertoire in time for hiking season

Coquitlam Search and Rescue beefs up its rescue repertoire with a new HETS system. - Coquitlam SAR
Coquitlam Search and Rescue beefs up its rescue repertoire with a new HETS system.
— image credit: Coquitlam SAR

Coquitlam Search and Rescue has announced that its helicopter rescue team is now fully operational just in time for the busy hiking season.

A $50,000 project to acquire equipment and train volunteers to rescue stranded and injured hikers using a helicopter external transport system (HETS) is now in place and poised to rescue stranded hikers this season.

According to Michael Coyle of Coquitlam SAR, local volunteer searchers have had to rely on North Shore Rescue for support in difficult rescues. Last year, there were seven requiring the use of HETS equipment, which will now be based at the Coquitlam Town Centre fire hall.

“With this kind of tool, we can access places we wouldn’t be able to normally,” Coyle said.

Coyle said a nine-man team has been training for months to be able to use HETS, which is used to transport a rescue worker to the site and then pick up and transport the injured person on a stretcher or harness, to emergency services, via a 200-foot rope that dangles from the helicopter.

A Spirit of Coquitlam grant contributed $45,000 toward the project and Talon Helicopters is Coquitlam SAR’s primary partner.

 

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