Rescue team invaluable

West Boundary Highway Rescue is ready to respond to accidents along the highway throughout the West Boundary.

Larry Bowen

When you are involved in an accident on the highway it is a blessing to know that trained and equipped emergency responders are on their way to help. It could be ambulance or police—or, if someone were pinned in a vehicle, it would be the highway rescue crew.

The West Boundary Highway Rescue Unit (WBHR) is based in Midway and serves a huge geographical area: from Eholt on the east, to Bridesville on the west and as far north as Carmi.

“We have the tools now and we have the training so that if they are not out of that vehicle we can do it as gently and as fast as possible,” WBHR Co-ordinator Larry Bowen told the Times. “They have already had their bump for the day, so they don’t really need another one from us.”

It takes a lot of specialized equipment and ongoing training to do the job of a highway rescue volunteer.

In early October they had a three-day session to learn how to do low angle rope-rescue training. “If somebody is down over a bank, over in a large ditch or come off the side of a hill we can go down with a basket and retrieve them,” Bowen explained.

Earlier this year the members received a three-day Auto Extrication 2 certification course. “That means that if cars are stacked on top of each other or if you have a larger vehicle or a car that has been run over top of, we have the ability to help the people without injuring them again.”

WBHR also holds regular training sessions every two weeks. A recent evening was spent learning techniques for automobile fire suppression.

Bowen said these courses are given through accredited instructors and that those completing each component receive certification.

According to Bowen, the group has just received the go ahead to begin First Responders training, which he hopes will begin by the end of the year. Bowen himself is also an ambulance driver in Greenwood and a member of the Greenwood Volunteer Fire Department; but the giving to the community by this group of volunteers doesn’t stop there.

For the last two years they have made themselves available when liquor is served at local dances. They offer a ride service that provides people a ride home if they need it. “We don’t have to go out on a call if we have prevented the call from happening,” Bowen said.

The rescue unit currently has nine full-time and one part-time member. The property owners in Regional District Kootenay Boundary Area E, Midway and Greenwood fund WBHR as a regional district service.

He invites anyone who might like to consider joining them to come out to a practice and watch. “If you decide that you want to join us, we are more than receptive to get you in the group.”

For more information contact either Larry Bowen at 250-528-0349 or John Coburn at 449-2455.