OREANDA-NEWS. Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons from across Canada are participating in their annual National Search and Rescue Exercise, SAREX 2016, from September 18 to 24, 2016, in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Involving nearly 200 participants, the training brings together the Canadian Armed Forces  with civilian search and rescue communities, including the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA), and other first responders to standardize and evaluate skills. This event follows on the heels of previous successful SAREX events in Gimli, Manitoba (2013), Goose Bay, Newfoundland (2014) and Comox, British Columbia (2015).

Exercise aims include aerial and ground searches, medical responses, parachute accuracy, as well as land and marine rescues.

Search and rescue response in Canada involves several provincial and government departments, including Public Safety Canada, the Department of National Defence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Transport Canada. A number of volunteer organizations such as CASARA and non-governmental organizations such as STARS (the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society) regularly assist in search and rescue operations.

The primary SAR responsibility of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is the provision of aeronautical SAR and the coordination of the aeronautical and maritime SAR system.

CAF resources may also assist in ground search and rescue (GSAR) efforts, medical evacuations and other humanitarian incidents if requested by the responsible provincial/territorial or municipal authority. The Canadian Rangers, Reserve Force members of the CAF, regularly aid in GSAR upon request in sparsely settled regions of the country