CARDA locals heading to Olympics

  • Jan. 12, 2010 11:00 a.m.

The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association will head to the Olympics in February.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics will play host to some furry friends for events happening at Cypress and Whistler mountains and in the Callaghan Valley.

The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) is joining the Integrated Security Unit on the mountains during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. According to a recent press release, CARDA will be ready to assist in the safety and security of the public, the Games and security personnel by providing coverage with certified avalanche rescue dog teams.

Kyle Hale, President of CARDA, his dog Wiser and Barb Quinn and her dog Lava will be representing Golden.

“The RCMP and CARDA have had a partnership since CARDA’s inception and because of that CARDA has been asked to provide rescue dog services to the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) for the 2010 Olympic Games,” said Hale, adding, “All of the RCMP dog services will be tasked to other resources during the games, primarily in explosives detection so CARDA will fulfil the avalanche and rescue dog services.”

Hale said that security and rescue duties will be divided amongst 25 CARDA teams that will be positioned during daylight hours, while others will remain on call.

“Based on the conditions, CARDA will do an avalanche assessment of the area and we will be placed where we are needed. That will mean that we will most likely be placed at the venues so that we are ready to respond if needed.”

Both of Golden’s local teams will be attending on different weeks, with Hale positioned in Whistler and Quinn helping at the Paralympic Games.

“This is the first time that there will be an avalanche dog presence at the Olympics in Canada,” said Hale, adding, “CARDA is the only not-for-profit volunteer organization partnering with the ISU so we are honoured to be a part of it. This is a great opportunity to get CARDA out there onto the world stage.”

Hale said that there are currently 30 operational CARDA search dog teams, many of whom work on the slopes of some of the country’s top ski resorts and backcountry lodges.

“These are places where the dogs and handlers have ample opportunity to work in avalanche terrain.”

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