MOU sees PAGC join forces with PA police, RCMP on search and rescues
- EFN Staff | March 15, 2019
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first of its kind between three parties to work together on search and rescue. On March 12th, a special ceremonial signing of a Search and Rescue MOU between the Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) and the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police was held in Prince Albert.
“Our Search and Rescue team possesses skills and knowledge of our people, land and communities, and have established an excellent track record of working with the families and police services to respond to cases of missing people from our communities,” said PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte in a media release. “In addition to becoming a new chapter of Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers (SARSAV), we are pleased to sign this collaborative agreement with the RCMP and PAPS that will allow us to be more actively involved in emergencies as they arise and generally provide us with a more formal role in the province’s search and rescue system into the future.”
The agreements formalize the overall scope, roles, responsibilities and expectations of the organizations for Search, Recovery and Rescue Services required by PAGC’s member First Nation communities in Central, Northeastern and Northern Saskatchewan, but is legally non-binding. PAGC, PAPS and the RCMP recognize the importance of utilizing all available resources when it comes to Search, Recovery and Rescue efforts, and have agreed to work together to ensure emergency situations are handled in a coordinated and effective manner.
“Saskatchewan RCMP is proud to take another step in our continued cooperation with the Prince Albert Grand Council. By working together, we are able to provide highly trained searchers and equipment to more communities in northern Saskatchewan,” said Assistant Commissioner Mark Fisher, Commanding Officer of Saskatchewan RCMP. “We are ensuring that all available resources are being used, that all available knowledge and skills are being shared and that all efforts are being made to help reunite families with their missing loved ones.”
In December 2018, Prince Albert Grand Council Search and Rescue Team officially became a Chapter of the SARSAV, which serves as the provincial organizing and contact agency for Volunteer Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in Saskatchewan. SARSAV has 18 chapters who volunteer their time for training, search missions, preventative information and public awareness.
“We are pleased to sign a MoU with the Prince Albert Grand Council to strengthen our working partnership we have developed with the PAGC SAR team in urban search operations,” PAPS Deputy Chief Jason Stonechild. “Now that they have become an official SARSAV member, we recognize that the more trained teams we have in place who are ready to be activated in emergency situations, the better our chances at finding those who have gone missing. This team has already contributed valuable advice, experience and resources to our incident command centre and incident operation teams, and I am confident that combining our efforts in future operations can only mean improved and better outcomes for all those affected by a missing loved one.”
Bobbi Buchanan, President of Search and Rescue Saskatchewan Association of Volunteers said having terms of reference in this MOU for PAGC SAR as they work together with PAPS and RCMP is an important foundation to their SAR response.
“The partnerships built will increase the capacity to respond in the north to SAR events and for SAR teams to be rapidly when activated,” said Buchanan. “This is a moment of achievement and should be recognized as such.”