The mandate of Halifax Search & Rescue is to locate and rescue lost persons within our jurisdiction in the best possible condition. Our mission is to bring a lost subject home, under any circumstance, as quickly as possible.
With more than 40 years of service, Halifax Search & Rescue has been involved in some of the largest ground search and rescue and civilian emergencies in North American history. Our team has also lead recovery efforts for large scale accidents including Swissair 111; assisted the Red Cross in 9/11 passenger diversion activity; participated in mass public evacuation for train derailments, floods, infrastructure damage, and fires; and provided transportation services during extreme weather events for hospital staff to and from locations.
As a volunteer organization, we provide an on-site and mobile, self-sufficient command structure capable of responding 24/7 in many contexts outside traditional wilderness search and rescue.
During a search and rescue operation, HSAR has the capacity to deploy a variety of resources depending on the situation. Our team operates with more than 150 active members, a dedicated K9-RCMP certified civilian search dog unit, and six response vehicles including command and logistics trucks, a small boat, ARGO, and several transportation vehicles.
We work with 22 other search and rescue teams in Nova Scotia, as well as every other emergency response team in the region to bring the lost person home, including the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Coast Guard, EMO, RCMP, Halifax Police, the Department of Natural Resources, Halifax Fire, and the Canadian Red Cross.
Halifax Search & Rescue is dedicated to training and has one of the most active volunteer SAR training schedules in the country. We offer five core module courses to our team members and schedule regular training—year round, day and night, and in all weather conditions—to keep our skills current.
HSAR also educates the public on a variety of topics, including map and compass navigation, GPS use and navigation, and woods safety. We offer public courses and programs throughout the year that focus on practical, hands-on learning. Team members also educate hundreds of children annually through the popular Hug-a-Tree program.
Halifax Search & Rescue bases all actions and decisions on professionalism and compassion for the lost subject, the team, and ourselves. We respect and care for one another both within and outside the SAR environment and apply integrity, accountability, effectiveness, and teamwork to all our volunteer efforts.