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Search-and-rescue practice set for Brandon area

Manitoba’s heavy Urban Search and Rescue team will stage its annual winter training exercise today and tomorrow at multiple locations around the Brandon area.

The round-the-clock exercise, called Operation Readiness, will use dogs and specialized search-and-rescue techniques and equipment to locate and save people in several situations.

The team is entirely self-contained — including all-season tents, water and cooking supplies, an environmentally friendly power system, computer-aided search tools and a satellite communications system. It has the capacity to be self-sustaining anywhere in the country, in any weather, for up to 10 days. During the Brandon exercise, it will remain on-site in a secure base camp and command post.

The Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner co-ordinates the 100-plus member team, which draws its members from the RCMP, Fire Commissioner, Winnipeg Police Service, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Fire Service, physicians and paramedics from provincial regional health authorities, and volunteers from various Manitoba emergency services.

There are four teams across Canada in Vancouver, Alberta, Manitoba and Toronto, funded in co‑operation with the Government of Canada.  They were formed shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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I think with the recent financial mismanagement and other related criminal activity with the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the USAR should be disbanded and reassembled by a different organization.

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