General Information

Nelson Search and Rescue (NSAR) is operated as a non-profit society with an elected Board of Directors. The Board oversees the day to day operation of the team, budgeting, personnel, training, equipment purchase, member requests, and other requirements.

NSAR offers the following specialty teams in addition to Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR):

  • Management, Logistics, and Communication Team
  • Advanced Avalanche Response Team (AART)
  • Swift Water Team (SRT)
  • Rope Rescue Team
  • Lake Rescue Boat Team
  • Mountain Rescue Team
  • D-Class Team


NSAR is proud of the service provided to the local community and the level of training, expertise, and equipment that the organization retains to aid in rescue efforts.

Membership in NSAR is rewarding but requires dedication. The commitment of time and to continued skill development should be carefully considered.

NSAR in the Community

NSAR responds at the direction of Emergency Management BC. Services are provided to:

  • Assist Police (NCPD and RCMP), BC Ambulance, BC Coroner, local Fire/Rescue Departments
  • Assist Provincial, Municipal and Regional Government Agencies during local emergencies.
  • Provide mutual aid to other SAR groups in the area and to the Province when the need arises.
  • Promote backcountry safety through by providing public information.

Members freely volunteer their time at local events, providing first aid and other services.


Formal team training is conducted on the first and third Wednesday evening of the month, with additional weekend training throughout the year. Weekend training may involve a full training scenario for SAR Managers, Team Leaders, and Team Members, often including specialty teams and lasting the full day. In addition, speciality skills training weekends are undertaken to enhance member skill sets in avalanche rescue, first aid, ropes and other disciplines.

Evening practices are either training sessions or short scenarios focused on one aspect of skill development. Practices typically run from 18:30 to 21:30 hrs.

Members in Training (MIT) are required to complete GSAR (Ground Search and Rescue) training within their first year of membership. MITs are brought on as full time members once GSAR is completed, the one year probationary period has passed, and after it is determined by the Training Officers and Directors that the MIT has demonstrated capacity to serve as a full member.

During the probationary period, MITs are expected to attend all training activities. Upon completion of GSAR and acceptance to the NSAR Team, the MIT will qualify to take courses provided by the Provincial Emergency Program, as well as apply to NSAR to offset the cost of other SAR related external training.


Prospective and probationary members must show the Directors that their personal and professional lives allow full participation in both training and real Search and Rescue operations. Operational tasks routinely require an immediate response and last 4-12 hours. Historical call volume is around 30 tasks per year.

The ability to commit to the twice monthly general training is necessary because it provides the basis for all other training and involvement within NSAR.

The following is essential to be considered for participation as an MIT in NSAR:

  • Strong 4 season backcountry skills and experience
  • Basic rope skills
  • Current first aid certificate
  • Map, compass and navigation skills
  • Ability to travel safely and quickly through backcountry terrain
  • Physical fitness
  • Familiar with the local area
  • Have adequate personal gear, clothing and equipment to allow you to operate effectively and safely in the backcountry for a 24 hour period.
  • Be able to work within a highly collaborative team environment
  • Have the desire to commit the required hours to this type of community service work

Application Procedure

Applications are received throughout the year with regular reviews carried out as member numbers require. Short listed candidates will be interviewed to confirm qualification, suitability and level of commitment. NSAR’s normal membership level is 40 to 45 members.

All members are required to undertake and pass a RCMP background check.

The NSAR Application can be accessed via the link below and then submitted to our Membership Director at:

Application Form: Nelson SAR Application Form