Southeast Search and Rescue receives a large donation

The Bayliss family of Carnduff knows a thing or two about how it feels when a loved one goes missing. A year ago, on June 18, Rebecca Bayliss’ mother, Ruby Barnes, went missing from the Carlyle area.

At that time the RCMP was the main and only search and rescue resource in the region. They did their best, but it was not until October 22 when her vehicle was found near Esterhazy in a dense bush. The investigation concluded the human remains found in the vehicle belonged to Barnes.

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“One morning our mother was doing her normal daily stuff and that evening she was missing. RCMP was called, family and friends, a lot of people in the community were out searching by vehicle, by foot. Some were on the phone calling companies, hospitals, anywhere you could find a phone number for people who travelled the roads, only to come up empty-handed,” said the letter from Bayliss family.

Rebecca, her family and friends drove miles, day and night in a joint effort to find the missing woman.

“We had an amazing group of people offering their time and resources. (But) they had no clues (about) where to start. They had no concrete plan. Resources were limited. The RCMP were searching on and off duty. They all were amazing,” said the letter.

Unfortunately, the search didn’t end the way they would have liked. It also unveiled the gaps in the regional search and rescue system.

So when the Southeast Saskatchewan Search and Rescue (SESK SAR) chapter was formed, the Bayliss family decided to donate an incident command trailer – one of the most important and vital needs on the volunteer SAR organization’s equipment list.

“We are donating this trailer because for Southeast Saskatchewan Search and Rescue (it) was one the major things they needed to have a starting point if this ever happens again,” Bayliss said in an interview.

To supply the SESK SAR with the incident command trailer was Rebecca’s husband Bruce Bayliss’ idea. He shared it with Rebecca and she supported him, as she has been thinking about it herself. Then Bruce’s brothers decided to join them in that.

“With this new chapter of SESK SAR, just about up and ready to go now there is another resource for the RCMP and families to reach out to. Bruce and Becky Bayliss, Integrity Oilfield Hauling and B&B Oilfield Hauling are donating this trailer which gives us a peace of mind, in memory of Ruby Barnes, that we as family, friends and communities will have a group of trained people to help start a search from a solid point,” said the letter.

Volunteers joining SESK SAR and willing to be able to go on real searches will have to have first aid and CPR certificates, and also go through the 40 hours of basic ground search and rescue training. Further down the line, they will learn more skills such as compass and map use, ATV and snowmobile search, team leadership and many more.

That will allow the broad southeast region to have a group of volunteers, who know what to do and how to react in case someone goes missing. And now they also will have the incident command trailer, which, when filled, is a central piece of equipment needed for search operations.

“The incident command trailer will provide us with a mobile base and staging area that can respond to search and rescue calls here in the southeast. It will allow us to store and transport our search and rescue equipment while also serving as a base of operations that we can equip with vital lifesaving communications and logistics technology,” said Dan Hardern, SESK SAR vice-president.

Rebecca Bayliss outlined that they hope that training and equipment will never get to be used.

“I hope we get this trailer filled up and it’s never needed. I hope it sits in the shop somewhere and we hope it rots because it’s not needed. But if somebody does go missing again then we have the people trained and resources there to help … maybe quicker than what happened with mom,” said Rebecca.

She noted that they had a lot of help when the tragedy happened, but there was no plan in place, which could affect the results of the search. And now, when SESK SAR is formed and is ready to start training and when the group has its own instant command trailer, the Bayliss family hopes that nobody else will ever have to experience what they did for four months.

SESK SAR president Katia Bigney thanked the family for this very valuable donation. 

“With the very meaningful and heartfelt donation by the Bayliss family, each and every chapter member will honour the memory of Ruby Barnes as we learn our skills and apply them during training and on activated searches. Much love and a very sincere thank you to Bruce and Becky Bayliss,” said Bigney.

Cliffhanger Signs and Designs out of Carievale joined the Bayliss family, Integrity Oilfield and B&B Oilfield Hauling by donating the decaling of the trailer.