British Columbia

North Shore Rescue documentary goes behind the scenes to show team's 'most trying times'

North Shore Rescue (NSR) volunteers are known for their harrowing rescue operations as well as their skill and determination to saving wayward or injured hikers on the mountains surrounding North Vancouver. 

Production crew for new 5-part series was embedded with volunteer rescuers for a year

Viewers will be able to get a glimpse of some of the harrowing rescue operations done by volunteers of North Shore Rescue in a new series on the Knowledge Network. (Search and Rescue North Shore Facebook)

North Shore Rescue volunteers are known for their harrowing search-and-rescue operations as well as their skill and determination in saving wayward or injured backcountry users in the North Shore mountains. 

Now the public is able to get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of the organization thanks to a new documentary on the Knowledge Network called Search and Rescue: North Shore.

"I think it's really exciting for us to introduce our community to the members of North Shore Rescue," NSR team leader Mike Danks said. "You get to see what happens behind the scenes when we go through our most trying times conducting these rescues."

To make the five-part series, the production company embedded with the NSR team for an entire year and remained on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week during filming.

"It was certainly a different dynamic because you are bringing additional people with you," Danks said, "but the team was fantastic. It was almost like they weren't there."

"In fact, two of the members of the crew are now members of the team, officially." 

NSR has over 40 volunteers and is one of the 79 volunteer ground search-and-rescue organizations in British Columbia. 

During the year of production, Danks said the film crew captured the team on a variety of calls, ranging from complex helicopter rescues to elderly walkaways and searches for children.

"There's a lot of emotions that you are going to see," Danks said. "I think this is a great way for people to have a better understanding about what motivates our volunteers to do what they do."

Luckily, filming was completed before the spread of COVID-19 began. Aside from adding safety protocols like masks and physical distancing, Danks said the pandemic also led to a "rush of people getting out to the backcountry," some of them unprepared for the conditions or a potential emergency.

"A lot of those people were really naive to how quickly you can get into trouble," Danks added.

"So we've been doing our best on the education front, but it's hard to keep up with the amount of people that are getting out there."

Search and Rescue: North Shore airs on the Knowledge Network every Tuesday at 9 p.m.

With files from On the Coast

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