Alberta, with an area of 661,848 km2 (255,500 sq mi), is the fourth largest province in Canada. Edmonton, is the capital city of Alberta, and is located near the geographic centre of the province. Approximately 290 km (180 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta’s largest city.
Alberta’s population in 2015 has almost reached 4.2 million people with many more visiting our province every year.
Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are largely forested. The southern quarter of the province is prairie. Alberta has majestic mountains, rivers, lakes and streams which will take your breath away.
As the provincial association for search and rescue teams, the Search and Rescue Association of Alberta’s (SAR Alberta) mission is to represent, advocate for, and support the Volunteer Search and Rescue teams in Alberta through facilitation and guidance. SAR Alberta is a non-profit organization comprised of 38 teams in 6 regions supported by over 1380 unpaid professionals.
What began in the early 1990s as a grassroots response to an identified need for trained people to look for lost individuals in wilderness settings, Search and Rescue in Alberta has evolved into a complex, sophisticated and very effective system. The capabilities of Search and Rescue within Alberta are constantly evolving based on the needs of the tasking agencies that teams serve.
Under the current Memorandum of Agreement with the Government of Alberta the following are tasking Agencies which can activate our member teams.
- the Province;
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in their capacity as the Alberta provincial police service;
iii. any other police service operating in Alberta pursuant to the Police Act (Alberta);
- Parks Canada; and
- a municipality as defined in the Municipal Government Act (Alberta), an improvement district, a special area, First Nations communities or Métis Settlement.
At this time in the Province of Alberta, Search and Rescue consists of the following disciplines:
- Ground Search and Rescue, including:
- Missing Persons Searches
- SAR K9 Searches
- Evidence Searches
- Disaster/Civil Emergency Response
- Preventative Search and Rescue
- Inland water and Ice Search and Rescue
- Cave Search and Rescue
- Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (Task Force 2)
- Medium Urban Search and Rescue