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GSAR 101

01. How much time does GSAR take up?
A lot. Each of our members spend hundreds of hours per year on team activities, including: training, fundraising, meetings, public education and of course, searches. 


02. Do you get paid?
No, every member of CBSAR is a volunteer. There are no paid positions in Nova Scotia GSAR.


03. How is CBSAR funded? 
CBSAR receives some operational funding from both the municipal and provincial levels of government. The remainder is generated through both ongoing fundraising efforts and donations.


04. Do you charge for rescue services?

05. How many call-outs do you typically get in a year? 
On average, CBSAR recieves approximately 15-20 calls for assistance per year.

06. How long do call-outs usually last?
It varies. Searches can last anywhere between a few hours and a few days. When a call-out is initiated, expect to be pulled away for a twelve (12) hour operational period.


07. What types of weather can I expect to search in?
All types. CBSAR responds to lost person incidents regardless of weather. Expect to be called out in the rain, snow and everywhere in between.


08. What experience is required?
We prefer that applicants have some familiarity with the outdoors but this is not a requirement. All training will be provided.

09. How big is the team?
At present, there are approximately 40 emergency response volunteers and an additional 20+ volunteers operating in various support roles.

10. What if I’m really busy and can’t make it to a search?
CBSAR understands that life happens and from time to time, you may be unable to attend/respond. However, if your work situation and personal commitments prevent you from attending most CBSAR functions, perhaps GSAR is not for you.

11. What equipment do I need to participate in GSAR? 
CBSAR requires that all members have/carry the following items: Sturdy waterproof boots, clothing appropriate for climate (layered, no denim or cotton), compass, strong knife, backpack (25L or more), personal first-aid kit, waterproof matches and headlamp.

12. What equipment does CBSAR provide?
CBSAR will provide the following items to team members: Reflective vest, protective eyewear and helmet.

13. Am I insured in the event of injury?
Yes. All members are insured under Workers Compensation in the event of injury while participating in EMO-NS or CBSAR sanctioned activities.

14. Does CBSAR cover my travel expenses on a search?
Yes, you will be reimbursed for mileage on your personal vehicle when on a call-out. Members do not receive mileage to attend training, meetings, etc.

15. How often do you meet?
CBSAR meets once a month for a general meeting and fundraising and training happen regularly throughout the year.

16. How often do you train?
Often. Members of CBSAR train year-round to respond to various incidents. Expect to train on occasional Monday evenings and weekends.

17. Is there a probationary period?
Yes. New members must undergo a one (1) year probationary period. During this time, they will be classified as Members in Training (MIT). After one year–and on the provision that all core training has been completed–they are considered full members and granted voting rights.

18. Are there any costs to join CBSAR?
Members are required to pay a one-time fee of $30 for their Map & Compass training, in addition to $20 per year for membership dues.

19. What if I find a deceased person or human remains?
This is an unfortunate aspect of CBSAR’s core service. In the event that a member locates a deceased party or human remains, critical incident stress diffusion will be provided on site. Additional counselling will be provided to members as required.

20. What about dogs?
CBSAR does not sponsor or train dogs for GSAR activities. K-9 use is a function of the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, RCMP or other agency of authority.

21. How can I transfer to CBSAR from another team?
If you recently moved to the Cape Breton area and are looking to transfer from another GSAR team, please email

22. What if I do not meet the physical requirements but have other skills the team could use?
If you fail to meet the physical requirements of membership but feel you can assist CBSAR in other capacities, please email


If you have a question that isn’t answered in our FAQ, please contact us!

FAQ: About Us
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