It's been a busy couple of weeks for members of Cochrane Search and Rescue.

They were deployed five times between May 12 and 17 which is quite a bit busier than their usual one or two deployments per month.

Vice President, Evan Knox says their five deployments involved 42 Operational Members which culminated in 179.1 volunteer hours in total.

The deployments included two missing person searches and three proactive OHV patrols.

"Very recently we've been utilized several times. We had a search down in Bragg Creek that we were tasked on. Then we went on a quad patrol with RCMP, Fish & Wildlife & Alberta Wildfire and through that we went on trails in both Waiparous and McLean Creek."

Knox says they've had to take some proactive measures to make sure all of their members stay safe during COVID-19. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us some issues in the fact that we wanted to make sure that our members are safe to be able to deploy during this time and one of the immediate responses was that we needed to put protocols in place in order for that to happen."

He says "Physical distancing and sanitization, we have protocols around how we conduct our work, we have fit for duty forms so there was a whole bunch of protocols we had to put into place in order to become operational again."

But, Knox says as far as how they search goes, that hasn't changed much. 

"Interestingly enough, typically we are spaced at least two metres apart in our normal searching activities anyway. We are spread out at a distance that makes sense to be able to see what it is that we're looking for. So if we are looking for a lost person through heavy bush we might have to be a little bit closer but we're still going to be outside of that two metre radius."

He says they have had to turn some things down. 

"There are some types of searches that we do where we are looking for a very small piece of evidence and we are meant to be or supposed to be shoulder to shoulder. We have stood that type of search down."

Knox says summer is typically their busiest time of year with more people out using trails. 

There are approximately 80 members, 20 of those are members in training. 

For more information on Cochrane Search and Rescue go here.

Cochrane Search & Rescue