Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue

The Canadian Forces School of Search and Rescue (CFSSAR) officially opened the doors of its training complex on February 3, 1998: the Cpl Philip Lloyd Cyril Young Building- named in honour of a Search and Rescue Technician (SAR Tech) killed in a Labrador helicopter crash on April 30, 1992.

SAR Techs, the Air Force Para-Rescue Specialists, who wear their distinctive orange flight suits with pride, are responsible for saving the lives of Canadians every year. Their school moved to 19 Wing Comox in 1996.

Each year applications from all trades in the Canadian Forces (CF) are forwarded to Ottawa for occupational transfer to the SAR Tech trade. Once a board reviews the applications, 24 to 30 personnel are selected to attend a two-week pre-selection course held in February in Jarvis Lake. Upon completion of the pre-selection phase, approximately 12 to 16 students are selected to attend the 11-month training at CFSSAR. Candidates are trained to penetrate and operate in remote, inaccessible areas of Canada for the purpose of rendering immediate and life-sustaining medical care to casualties. In addition to training the new candidates, CFSSAR is also responsible for training the current operational SAR Techs in various courses, including Restricted Team Leader, Team Leader, Dive Supervisor, Overturned Vessel Extraction, Parachute and Medical recertification.

Training SAR Techs is not the only role of this busy training establishment. The Sea Survival detachment, located 10 km from 19 Wing, trains approximately 250 students annually in order to increase their ability to survive in the sea environment under emergency conditions.

In addition to the Sea Survival detachment, CFSSAR also maintains training detachments at Jarvis Lake, Hinton, Alberta, and Resolute Bay, Nunavut.

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