MARPAC - Maritime Forces Pacific
Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Victoria
- JRCC Victoria is responsible for coordinating the Search and Rescue (SAR) response to air and marine incidents within the region. The Victoria Search and Rescue Region (SRR) is made up of B.C., the Yukon, and a portion of the north-eastern Pacific ocean including:
- Approximately 490,000 square miles of mainly mountainous terrain
- 275,000 square miles of ocean
- 20,000 miles of coastline (the oceanic area extends westward 900 miles in the south and 350 miles in the north)
- As a secondary role, JRCC Victoria coordinates requests for humanitarian assistance from other levels of government. JRCC Victoria uses federal SAR resources to assist with incidents that fall within provincial or municipal jurisdiction. Examples include, searching for missing hunters, hoisting injured hikers and medical evacuation.
How we do it
- The Air Force and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) jointly staff the JRCC Victoria 24 hours a day, year-round. Two marine coordinators (CCG officers), an air coordinator (Air Force pilot or navigator) and an air assistant (aerospace control operator) respond to tens-of-thousands of radio and telephone calls that result in nearly 4,000 SAR cases annually. Approximately 70 percent of these cases are marine related, with the busiest months being May to August.
- Search & Rescue is truly an international activity. JRCC Victoria works closely and shares resources freely with three adjacent RCCs: Juneau, Alaska to the north, Trenton to the east, and Seattle, Washington to the south. It is not unusual for American or Canadian rescue units to respond to distress calls in each other's area when they are the closest available unit. Joint operating agreements and special customs procedures promote maximum cooperation that provides an optimal response to any distress.
- One of the most useful tools in the Canadian SAR system is the Search and Rescue Satellite or SARSAT/COSPAS satellite surveillance system; jointly founded in 1981 by Canada, USA, France and USSR. At present, 18 countries participate. The Canadian system uses three earth stations: Edmonton, Churchill and Goose Bay, to monitor six satellites in polar orbit. These satellites detect and locate air and marine emergency beacons, referred to as Electronic Location Transmitters (ELTs) and Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), which transmit on 121.5, 243.0 and 406.0 MHZ.
Did you know?
- JRCC Victoria is located in HMC Dockyard at CFB Esquimalt and reports to the SRR Commander, also the Commander of MARPAC and Joint Task Force (Pacific).
- The Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) is one of three Canadian JRCCs; the others being in Trenton, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
- The Department of National Defence (DND) has overall responsibility for the operation of the coordinated federal SAR system.
- Includes 16 military personnel and 15 civilian personnel.
- The Coast Guard is a large and integral part of the SAR system, providing the primary marine resources to the federal SAR system (two vessels continually patrolling the North/South SAR areas, plus 11 rescue cutters and 2 hovercraft located at 12 fixed bases on 30 minute standby).
- Canadian Naval ships are considered secondary SAR resources under the National SAR Plan and regularly respond.
- The Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) is a national organization of volunteers who actively participate in aircraft searches (980 members and operate 100 private aircraft in many areas of the Victoria SRR).
- The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary (CGA) is a national volunteer marine group with 1,100 members that operate 380 private rescue boats (they are well organized and train regularly; these community-based volunteers can often provide the fastest response).
- The primary SAR air resource in this region is 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron located at 19 Wing Comox on Vancouver Island.
Contacting the JRCC
- The toll-free emergency phone number for JRCC is 1-800-567-5111 that is only available in BC and the Yukon. Cellular users can contact JRCC toll-free by calling Pound SAR (#727) – a free community service provided by Telus Mobility and Rogers. Members of the media are requested to call 250-413-8937 to speak to a representative of the JRCC.
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