Update: Shuswap road rescue crews still active

Concerns around disease transmission and equipment issues led to decision

In light of supply troubles and the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus, volunteer first responder groups in the Shuswap have decided to stop responding to calls until the present crisis is at an end.

Both the North and South Shuswap First Responders groups have given public notice they are currently shut down.

Meanwhile, volunteer Shuswap road rescue groups say they will continue to respond as needed.

The Eagle Valley Rescue Society will continue to fulfill their primary mandate of responding to motor-vehicle accidents and rescues that require scaling an embankment. John Moore, the rescue unit’s chief, said they are also feeling the pinch when it comes to supplies.

Moore said the rescue society also assists BC Ambulance Service crews on some calls where CPR is required, but a limited supply of masks, gowns and face shields could put a stop to this. Moore said the gowns and face shields can be washed and reused if they are not damaged on the call, but the masks are single-use.

Moore stressed that everyone should stay home and off the highways in the midst of the current crisis.

Tim Alstad of the Salmon Arm Rescue Unit also expressed the importance of limiting travel to only necessary trips and practicing social distancing around others. Alstad said the Salmon Arm unit is still ready to respond to motor vehicle incidents that require extrication from wrecked cars; he said the unit has a small stockpile of masks and gloves as well as their regular protective equipment. As a social distancing measure, the unit has suspended regular meetings and training until they can reevaluate the risks posed by COVID-19.

In a notice to residents of CSRD Area C, the South Shuswap First Responders group outlines factors that went into their decision to shut down, including an inability to obtain the necessary personal protective equipment and product necessary for sanitizing equipment. Other issues include the closure of the facility they use for training which also leaves them unable to re-stock equipment.

Read More: Interior Health cancels day programs, prioritizes admissions to protect seniors receiving care

Read More: ‘COVID-19 is definitely in the community and definitely spreading’: Local clinic warns Revelstoke

“As volunteers, we are committed to the health and well-being of our community. We wouldn’t want to be an unknown carrier of the virus and then respond to a call and potentially infect those we are trying to help.”

The notice states the decision was very difficult, and was made respecting directives and advice from provincial and national health officials.

The South Shuswap First Responders are a group of trained volunteers who respond to medical emergencies. They serve the communities of Balmoral, Blind Bay, Carlin, Eagle Bay, Notch Hill, Skimikin, Sorrento, Sunnybrae and White Lake.

Read More: Researchers study how pandemic affecting people’s mental health

Read More: B.C. lays out guidelines for construction industry, but keeps sites open

The first responder volunteers in the North Shuswap also complained of insufficient personal protective equipment and sanitization products as they announced the suspension of their service. They stated they want their community to be COVID-19 free, particularly because a large portion of the North Shuswap’s population are seniors.

“Our team will monitor the situation and follow the directives and advice of our provincial and national health officials,” said Kath Rowbotham the North Shuswap Responders chief coordinator.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

Presence of auxiliary volunteers missed at Salmon Arm hospital during pandemic

Shuswap Lake Health Care Auxiliary still chips in two iPads so patients can connect with families

Column: Helping one another through these challenging times

Director’s Notes by CSRD Area C director Paul Demenok

Okanagan real estate market stable; bracing for slowdown due to COVID-19

Real estate board projects slowdown as the economic impacts of the pandemic continue to develop

May fundraisers for Salmon Arm non-profits postponed

Literacy Alliance spelling bee, Hit2Fit boxing event on hold due to COVID-19

COVID19 pushes Salmon Arm boxing coach into students’ living rooms

Needs of students with Parkinson’s prompts Bulldogs’ Peggy Maerz into Zoom Room

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Emergency services respond to numerous incidents on Highway 1

Today there were multiple semi truck crashes on Highway 1 and a collision by the hospital

Large item collection events cancelled in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Concerns about spread of COVID-19 led to decision to cancel collection events

COVID-19: postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19: Central Okanagan fire departments only responding to serious medical calls

The new directive from Dr. Bonnie Henry does not change the public safety response of firefighters

Okanagan business produces plexiglass barriers with a cause

Mouldings and More is donating barrier proceeds to local food banks

Most Read