Fredericton area search and rescue group finds new home

·3 min read
York Sunbury Search and Rescue will use this space in Oromocto to store its command post and trailer. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)
York Sunbury Search and Rescue will use this space in Oromocto to store its command post and trailer. (Gary Moore/CBC - image credit)

Volunteers with the York Sunbury Search and Rescue have a new building to call home, and more importantly, a place to store equipment year-round.

The ground search and rescue group, which is made up entirely of volunteers, has been around since the early 1980s, but hasn't had a home base until now.

The group relies on fundraising as its primary source of money, which is why it's been hard to land a spot.

"We're not a government entity, which a lot of people don't realize," said Brad Parker, the organization's president.

Parker said the group does get a few small government grants but "there's not a lot of commercial space that fits our needs and our budget."

Brad Parker is the president of the York Sunbury Search and Rescue.
Brad Parker is the president of the York Sunbury Search and Rescue. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Members of the non-profit group have been looking for a space that can store the command post, which is a truck that's about 25 feet long, and a trailer about the same size that stores all of the group's equipment needed for a search.

It's created a logistical issue for decades.

"The truck itself goes into storage that we can get to if we need to," Parker said.

He added that in order to access the command post the group needs to make arrangements with the storage facility. That add another step in the process and another call to make.

The group's trailer isn't accessible in the winter because it's buried in snow.

Each winter, the group has to store other equipment with volunteers. That means radios, flashlights, compasses, GPS units and laptops are not in a central location.

"It's the difference between taking two minutes to grab something and taking 20 minutes to grab something," Parker said.

In the summer months, the trailer is always attached to the command post, making it a 52-foot unit.

York Sunbury Search and Rescue's command post and trailer.
York Sunbury Search and Rescue's command post and trailer. (Submitted/York Sunbury Search and Rescue)

The group has been able to work out a parking space with the city of Fredericton for that time of year.

After searching for a budget-friendly solution to meet their needs, the group struck a deal with Canada House Clinics in Oromocto, which has a large garage that wasn't being used.

"It all kinda came together pretty quick, we started talks with them just before Christmas time and now we're moving in," said Parker.

The new space has two large garage doors and plenty of space for the vehicle, trailer and other equipment year-round. The group also has its own access to the site.

The location is just off the highway. Parker said that will make it easier to get to calls.

"We plan to make this our base of operation for the foreseeable future," he said.

The group took over the space on Mar. 1 and will move in over the coming weeks.