Events certainly slowed down over the past year, but the BRSARA team has not stopped training. Today was a beautiful day to find a large semi-outdoor arena for rope rescue training, a system for rescuing those in hard-to-reach areas such as a deep embankment.

It is important to know these skills in order to set up a system for rescue that applies stringent safety measures, and methods that enable the team to have confidence in each other while responding efficiently and quickly under duress.

Dave and Becky, Rope Rescue Training Day; photo credit: Bruce Bumstead
Double Figure-Eight Knot

Our facilitators on Rope Rescue Practice are Dave and Becky, who ensure we have mastered the art of tying an assortment of knots used for different purposes. The figure-eight knot looks just as it sounds. I can be used to secure a rope around an object on a harness or anchor point. The butterfly knot creates a bi-directional loop at any point of a rope line not under tension. It is not just about knowing how to tie the knot, but also how to dress it properly so the knot’s integrity is secure.

Equipment protocols such as handling of the carabiner, paying attention to rope utility, and the use and care for pulley devices are covered. There are various types of haul systems that use pulley devices. One demonstration discussed the most effective way to utilize a single rope system to deploy responders down the slope, shuttle necessary equipment to the patient location and to utilize pulleys to create a mechanical advantage to retrieve the patient, responders and equipment safely. Every situation that a ground search and rescue team may encounter will be different, which means it is important to understand the variety of mechanisms and the best possible solution for retrieving a patient that may be in a difficult location. For instance, it is important to establish an anchor point that is “bomb proof,” and will be able to support and sustain the entire system, and the force required to operate it. Also, knowing when a mechanical advantage is needed effects whether these devices are used for a 2:1 or a 3:1 hauling system.

Practicing the Figure-Eight Knot; photo credit: Bruce Bumstead

In a rescue, a team works together not only to perform the roles, but also to ensure we keep ourselves safe. Safety checks are done to ensure rope and equipment integrity on every team member tied into the system. Trusting that we know our individual skills, we must have confidence once we have committed to our role in this process. Somebody takes the lead as first responder to the patient. Another person is the safety guide, overseeing the security of all equipment and protocols. One person monitors and maintains the belay device, and another the load bearing device. And when the patient is packaged and ready to come back up, there needs to be one or more team members to pull and reset the haul system.

These are only a few of the details that came out of our training session today, we learned so much more! I encourage our BRSARA team members to continue practicing with knots and observing your environments for ways to apply this knowledge.

I am proud of our team for trusting each other to do the work. Practice your skills and be ready for the climb!

Prusik Cords can be manipulated along the rope line and will grab and hold if pulled; photo credit: Bruce Bumstead

Gallery of Images from Rope Rescue Training Day:

Winter Survival Training Exercise 2020

Part of our team training is to practice those skills necessary in a winter ground search and rescue operation. Every year we bring our diverse experience together to practice the skills of building (and sleeping in) over-night shelters for winter conditions, and different methods for fire starting and weathering the fire through cold and wet factors. As this event often includes family members, this year we were honored to participate in a grid-line search with efforts made to recover “Easter egg clues” well hidden by a few young recruits. As well as a refresher on patient packaging, and a visit from Luke (K-9 in training), this training event was time well spent team building.

Our Team is a Family

Over the years with Brandon Regional Search and Rescue I have learned new skills and confidence in using them. I have learned to be accountable for myself, so I may serve, so others may live. Some of you may expect these qualities in a qualified search and rescue team. What you may not expect is that Brandon Regional Search and Rescue is more than a group of qualified GSAR volunteers, we are also a team. And by team, we do not simply show up to do our part, working well and playing well together. We are a family.

BRSARA represents a level of integrity that inspires within the group, a spirit of generosity and security between its members.  This reflects back into our community, if we treat ourselves and our own families with this attitude of respect and compassion then it is certainly an attitude the community will receive in full.

Sophie’s Benefit Social, held on October 17, 2019. From Left to Right: BRSARA Executive Wendy Flannigan and Brian Fowler, BRSARA Member Bruce Bumstead.


Part of being in this family is supporting every individual in the challenges they experience in their personal lives. Every person on this team works hard to volunteer, but they still work and have other interests and commitments that help them gain strength within themselves, as well as give back to our team, and the community.

Recently, one of our team members has experienced a health situation in his family. Those of our team who were able to, supported this individual and his family by raising funds and participating in the Terry Fox Run, and assisting in and pulling together resources to create a successful Benefit Social. A dedicated executive responded immediately and made sure this member had everything he needed.

Sophie’s Benefit Social held on October 17th, 2019. BRSARA Members with Crocus High School Rugby Team.

Thank you to the Brandon Regional Search and Rescue Executive for all of your hard work and unconditional support for your team members; and to all the members of this team who have worked hard to support our team.

Celebrating Canada Day 2019

BRSARA will be located at the Riverbank Discovery Centre all day Canada Day 2019!

Look for the AdventureSmart trailer and drop by for a visit with our hardworking volunteers.

Recently, Brandon Regional Search and Rescue hosted and Open House event to demonstrate types of activities we perform as a team. If you missed out on the Open House there are other opportunities to learn how to become a volunteer. Click on the Contact page to find out where we will be in the community next!

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The Open House Feature was BRSARA member Leon and his K-9 partner Luke performing K-9 demonstrations. Chelsea Kemp from the Brandon Sun ran a Local editorial about this demonstration, featured in the Brandon Sun’s Monday, April 8, 2019 article titled, “Doggedly helping those in need“.

BRSARA members were on hand to answer questions and discuss several different topics including: Rope Rescue, Communications, Mapping, Compass and Navigation, AdventureSmart “Hug-A-Tree and Survive” program, First Aid, Ticks in Manitoba, Equipment, and more. As a BRSARA volunteer there is a wealth of skills and knowledge sharing, as well as practical experience you receive through training as part of our team! If you would like more information on how to become a volunteer, click on the Volunteer page of this site.

We would also like to send out a special Thank You to everyone who donated prizes for the event, and supporting BRSARA!

Upcoming Open House

We look forward to seeing you there! To contact us for more information click on the image or poster links provided, or use the Contact link on this website.

BRSARA poster april 6 2019 – v2.0