Search and rescue teams from across Western Canada and the Arctic converged on Camrose this weekend to sharpen their skills.

For three days, fifteen crews work on responding to staged crash sites with the help of pilots who drop them to the scene. Once the plane lands, the crews rev into action, searching the scene for any survivors and assessing the site.

It's all part of staying sharp for a job where lives are at risk.

"The flying is challenging," said Phil Pardo, a former British Air Force pilot who now volunteers with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. "The actual task is very worthwhile, particularly when you do find a youngster who's alive and well."

The search areas for crews taking part in the training stretch from Two Hills down to Stettler and east to Vermillion.

Ed Kalau has been a private pilot in southern Alberta for 45 years. He says the training is vital for keeping his team prepared for a real search.

"All of the group is saying, 'I'd forgotten this or I'd forgotten that until I saw it this time. I now remember, and I won't forget it this time,'" Kalau said. 

They'll wrap up training Sunday afternoon.