The glitter of this year’s Sirens and Sapphires gala is illuminating the goal of purchasing an underwater rescue vehicle that is scarce in Canada.
The Lloydminster Rescue Squad event was able to raise over $345,000 thanks to the community generosity, sponsors and a couple surprize donations on at the function from Boundary Ford Gives and Cenovus Energy. Both entities contributed $100,000 each to the effort.
Chief Norm Namur and the rescue squad team are thrilled by the final tally and grateful for the support in their search and rescue efforts.
“We are extremely excited and humbled that we can get that. I think this will be all of two in all of Canada. It just gives us that technological advantage to locate, to search rivers and waterways for loved ones.”
Namur says the new tech is “a night and day difference to what they have now and what they are going to get.” The Video Ray Defender ROV or remotely operated underwater vehicle is seen by Lloyd Rescue as being a critical tool in the underwater search and recovery effort.
The rescue squad will need about another $50-60,000 which will cover the five-days of specialized training on the new ROV, but Namur says once they reach that target they will get the order in by spring and look to have the gear ready for operation by summer.
Demand for their service stretches across western Canada and while rivers and lakes in Alberta may go to a depth of 60 to a couple hundred feet, when they are called out to B.C they face depths in the 300-foot range, says Namur. With the new ROV the rescue squad will be able to search those depths and are anticipating more national requests for their help.
“I think what’s going to happen is that it’s going to open up a larger area for us to do searches and I think we will be receiving calls from pretty much country-wide, I know even up through Alberta and B.C. now, we are certainly seeing people asking us questions. I think with this piece of equipment, we are going to be busy next year,” says Namur.
Some of the ROV’s tech allows it to use sonar and video, as well as an attached arm or jaws which can retrieve things like clothing and bring it to the surface.
The Lloydminster Rescue Squad expresses their gratitude to the community, sponsors and patrons for the continued goodwill in helping families through search and rescue efforts.