Lost in the North

The Canadian Rangers don’t only watch the Canadian borders; they are also the protectors of the people from the harsh nature in the North.

You might not immediately think “Search and Rescue” when you hear about the Canadian Rangers, but this unique sector of the Canadian Forces Reserve is more than just a defending force. Since most Canadian Ranger patrols are located in sparsely-settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of Canada, the Rangers are often the first response team when a person or group goes missing.

This Search and Rescue (SAR) team can quickly and effectively gather forces when someone is lost in the extreme, harsh environment of the North. Their knowledge and convenient location make them vital to saving lives. Even veteran travelers used to living on the land can quickly fall into extreme danger when injured or lost in a white-out.

One of our episodes, currently being edited, focuses on the search-and-rescue training and exercise that Canadian Rangers undergo. They learn everything from mapping out the terrain with traditional and modern methods, searching for clues of the lost, keeping constant contact with home base and preparing to do whatever is needed to get the injured victim back quickly and safely; there are abundant learning opportunities for both new and veteran Rangers.

These exercises are not just a routine, unemotional practice for the Rangers–almost everyone in this community knows someone who has been lost. They know the accompanying anxiety and fear a search brings for those waiting back in the village. Some of the Rangers even recount stories of their own terrifying experiences being lost and disoriented on the land. And while most lost travellers are found relatively quickly, not all searches have happy endings.

Our “Search and Rescue” episode will air in 2013. Subscribe to our blog to continue to receive all the latest news!