Fernie Search and Rescue - who we are

Fernie Search and Rescue is a wilderness emergency response group that acts on behalf of Emergency Management BC.

The group is comprised of volunteers who assist people in emergencies in the backcountry. Fernie Search and Rescue can be tasked by various agencies, including the RCMP, the British Columbia Ambulance Service or BCAS, Fire /Rescue, local municipalities and the Department of National Defence.

Members of the public needing a SAR response should call 911, ask for the RCMP or BCAS and state that the nature of the emergency is in the backcountry and needs a SAR response.


Fernie SAR’s inception dates back to the early 70’s when several individuals formed a loosely organized group. In 1993 the group was reorganised to become an official society. Since that time it has responded to hundreds of incidents and the group has added various technical rescue disciplines to its capabilities.

Area Covered

Fernie SAR covers a significant portion of south eastern British Columbia, with a considerable diversity of terrain. The area north of Fernie and west of Sparwood and Elkford is mountainous with steep walls of poor quality rock unsuitable for technical climbing. The numerous valleys are deep, with fast flowing creeks and rivers, with some class 5 rapids. The area receives around 10 metres of snowfall every winter, and in the summer the mountains are host to some of the best mountain-biking and hiking in North America.

In the winter the steep snowy mountains draw recreationalists from all over the world and Fernie SAR responds to incidents ranging from avalanches, skier and snowmobiler trauma, MVAs, lost subjects, cold water immersion and other winter-related emergencies.

In the summer the mountains turn into a mecca for mountain bikers, hikers, fishermen and rafters and Fernie’s SAR technicians respond to a range of trauma-related emergencies, lost individuals and medical emergencies as well as water-related incidents.

Our Members

Our members are drawn from all walks of life with a diverse group of volunteers. All members invest countless hours away from family, friends and work to train for and provide critical life saving services to those in need.

Our members train all year round in rescue techniques and emergency first aid in order to be as capable as possible when called out. Many calls happen in inclement weather, in the middle of the night or during vacations, and members need to be able to respond rapidly to emergencies.