© —Star photo by Paul Hutchings
Deer Lake Search and Rescue coordinator Darren Williams demonstrates the unit’s new thermal imagery camera, which can track anyone lost by body heat, even in extreme darkness.
DEER LAKE It was a relatively slow summer for the Deer Lake Search and Rescue, with four calls for the whole season, but they’re gearing up for winter, with several new pieces of technology to help them.
According to Search and Rescue chairman Darren Williams, the unit is expecting delivery of a new communications system that will give them cell capabilities where they were impossible before.
The unit takes possession of an In-Reach device built by communications company Delorme in the United States. The device partners with smart phones so users can text to anyone, anywhere, through satellite technology. Williams said in a province with so many dead zones for cell service, the In-Reach device will become invaluable.
“We can still text back and forth between search and rescue members and back to the command centre,” he said. “We haven’t had that capability to use satellites until now, and we’ll get that in the next four or five weeks.”
The local search and rescue unit received word last winter that they were eligible for a provincial grant for a thermal camera, which picks up heat signatures during times of poor visibility. This will be the first winter the Deer Lake Search and Rescue unit will utilize this type of equipment.
The unit is also expecting the delivery of a new Automatic Defibrillator Unit over the next few weeks, and will continue training its members that were recruited last year.