Photos from Joint Task Force North – The Reality of Northern Search and Rescue Operations

By Captain Matt Zalot, Public Affairs, Task Force Nunalivut This year’s Operation NUNALIVUT features many different Canadian Forces (CF) activities: the Canadian Rangers performing sovereignty patrols, Arctic diving, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy Combined Dive Team, and it also includes a hefty Northern search and rescue component, featuring Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR Techs) from bases around the country. The culmination of the operation is a joint simulated search and rescue exercise – it also involves the divers and the Canadian Rangers – and was largely planned by SAR Tech Warrant Officer (WO) Dan Lamoureux, who’s responsible for coordinating all search and rescue aspects of Operation NUNALIVUT 2012. After hard day at work Royal Canadian rangers are playing online slots Canada for fun or real money. “Arctic training is an incredibly valuable opportunity for us,” says WO Lamoureux, the SAR Operations Liaison Officer. “We do 24/7 operations. As such, we perform rescues everywhere in Canada. This is our backyard, so this is where we should be prepared to work.” He’s speaking from experience, having personally performed perhaps a dozen search and rescue missions in the Arctic over his extensive career and having taught survival courses for a number of years at the Canadian Forces school of Search and Rescue in Comox, British Columbia. The importance of knowing how to work safely this far north is paramount. “As a part of Operation NUNALIVUT, we are working with the Canadian Rangers as well as the communities, and that’s a very good thing for me as a SAR Tech,” explains WO Lamoureux. He and his four sergeants (who are embedded with the various Canadian Ranger patrols) have spent the time in and around Resolute Bay, Nunavut, learning from the Canadian Rangers and imparting specialized knowledge of their own. Several medical technicians are also embedded, and having the SAR Techs there with them together in the patrols to provide first aid under harsh circumstances is a valuable commodity. Or, as he puts it, “because of our training, we also have the tools to operate in a medical role in the North.” Much of the training is similar to the sorts of things he would be doing at lower latitudes, but it becomes complicated by the immense distances and extreme remoteness of the frigid North. Of course, this does not deter the hardy SAR Techs from anticipating their parachute jump. “We want to be a part of what’s going on up here – all of it – and my guys are all stoked to be a part of the Canadian Ranger patrols,” says WO Lamoureux. The team, supported by aircraft from 413 & 442 Transport and Rescue Squadrons, from Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and Comox, British Columbia, respectively, are present to support the exercise and help ensure its success in replicating a real-life emergency. Lastly, the importance of doing this sort of training is obvious. In the words of the WO: “I could be up here next week, working hand-in-hand on a rescue mission with that same Canadian Ranger I trained with today.” Much of the Canadian High Arctic is a barren and unforgiving place, where mistakes can cost lives. Operations like NUNALIVUT are excellent training platforms that promote coordination between different CF assets and, for the SAR Techs, further develop the sorts of skills necessary to save lives. JTF-North-2 JTF-North-3 JTF-North-4 JTF-North-11