Search and Rescue Technicians
According to the Department of National Defence, "Each Canadian Forces aircraft deployed on a search and rescue mission includes two search and rescue technicians (SAR techs). These individuals are highly trained specialists who provide on-scene medical attention and rescue for aviators, mariners, and others in distress in remote or hard-to-reach areas."
The problem is that the search and rescue technicians are stationed at bases far away from most of these "remote or hard-to-reach areas." And while the SAR techs may be trained in Arctic rescue, they aren't based anywhere near the Arctic. This challenge will become even more pronounced in the future as the North becomes "busier," with increased polar overflights, maritime shipping, and economic development.
As the map shows, virtually all SAR techs are stationed in Canada's Southern regions. CFB Trenton, for example, which commands search and rescue in the vast majority of Canada's North, is closer to Quito, Ecuador, than it is to our military base at Alert, Nunavut.
Source: The Conference Board of Canada.
The data for the number of SAR techs in Canada and their stations were obtained through an e‑mail request to the Department of National Defence (DND) Public Affairs at 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters.
The locations of the air bases were derived from NAV CANADA's Canada Flight Supplement (Effective to 11 February 2010).
A table of air base locations by latitude/longitude was imported into ArcGIS and mapped. The map was exported into Adobe Illustrator, where the information from DND Public Affairs was added as labels and the SRR regions were added based on a map found at www.canadacom.forces.gc.ca/site/org-org-eng.asp.
About the Series
Here, the North is a bi-weekly series researched, written, and produced by The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for the North. The series is designed to illustrate similarities and differences--between Canada's North and South, and between Northern regions--in keeping with the Centre's mandate to provide policy-directed research to decision makers.
This issue of Here, the North was researched and written by Peter Wilson.