The Northwestern Ontario Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA Thunder Bay) had a role in CHINTHEX 2019 – May 06 -10. For the second consecutive year 435SQN based in Winnipeg, MB held its spring training exercise (CHINTHEX) in Thunder Bay and area. NOASARA members had many unique opportunities to participate in various activities ranging from flying intercepts, spotting from one of many CC130 Hercules, and portraying casualties for the MAJAID. New and returning members alike were impressed with the variety of airborne taskings – spotting during an intercept, assisting a disabled boat, and spotting and assisting in the dropping of nine SARtechs and Rescue Jumpers for the MAJAID. Each event offered some new experiences and provided new and updated skills and tips. Participation in events such as this helps update skills and increase our interagency operability. Regrettably this year NOASARA was the only CASARA unit involved as many of the Prairie and Northern units found the travel time too long.
Also participating in the event were air and support crews from 435SQN (Winnipeg) with 2 CC130, 424SQN (Trenton) with 1 CC130, 439SQN (Bagottville) with a CH-146 Griffon, and from south of the border; USGC Traverse City MI with a JayHawk helicopter, USAF 39 Rescue SQN (Florida) with a C130 and 304 Rescue SQN (Portland Oregon) with para-rescue jumpers. Additional participation came from CF SkyHawks demonstration team, and Ornge.
Working alongside and around all these rescue professionals, many great connections were made and skills improved. This high profile event has also helped with member recruitment. NOASARA looks forward to working with these groups in the future.
From Friday afternoon June 7th to Sunday morning June 9th the Ontario Executive has been busy digesting the past year and planning for the year ahead at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Center in London, Ontario. The business of SAR is very similar to any other corporation. Once a year the zone directors, executive, officers, our OPP liaison and our military gather for two days of intense meetings and collaboration all designed to support our members.
On April 27, 2019 several members from the CARES Niagara Zone based out of St. Catharines maintained a CASARA booth at the “Girls Take Flight” event at the Oshawa Executive Airport. Original plans to also have a static display (C182 – PJO) on the apron had to be cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. The Zone used the opportunity as a SAR Awareness event to raise the profile of CASARA and our role within the SAR community. Also, not unlike the aviation industry in general, female participants are under-represented in CASARA so the occasion was also used to promote our efforts to attract and retain more female members. This event served both goals. Organizers reported just in excess of 1,000 attendees at the event. It is estimated that between 150 and 200 people dropped by the booth to either collect literature on display and/or to ask questions about the organization. It is estimated at least twenty-five people expressed a keen interest in learning more about the organization with the possibility of joining, some of whom were female. At least twenty parents introduced their daughters to SAR. It is also worth noting that our location beside the Canadian Forces Recruiting booth and the Air Cadet Gliding programme also proved useful in drawing attention to the booth and served to highlight the strong association with our military partners. 424 Squadron had a static display (Griffon) on the ramp throughout the day. The Griffon crew, Captain Stef Pouliot and Major Chris Herten, took some time early in the day to drop by and say hello. CASARA members who attended felt the event was certainly time will spent in serving one of our mandates – promoting SAR awareness and the organization in general to all who attended, particularly young women who were considering a career in aviation.
CASARA Niagara shows its stuff in Annual Christmas Parade
Every year for the last ten years, approximately ten to twenty members of CASARA Niagara (CARES) participate in the annual Niagara on The Lake, Christmas Parade. It is an opportunity not only for our members to come together in anticipation of a visit from old St. Nick but to also create an awareness in our local community of CASARA and the works we do. As a result of our participation CASARA Niagara enjoys a very high profile in the community. Niagara has a large and diverse volunteer base. We joyfully hand out yes, you guessed it, Lifesavers to the children who line the five kilometer parade route winding through the old town and finishing up near the Cenotaph. It is one of the largest parades in Ontario with over 100 floats. Attendance typically runs in the 3000 to 4000 range.
Here is a photo of this years crew.
In whichever tradition you choose to recognize the holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from CASARA Ontario.