Due to its remoteness, low temperatures, uncertain ice and weather conditions and lack of infrastructure, the Arctic region is a risky and highly complex area in terms of Search and Rescue operations. However, by sharing best practices and developing international cooperation in the field of SAR training and education, Arctic Coast Guard authorities can be better prepared to operate in Arctic areas.
In theArctic Search and Rescue Capabilities survey published in August 2017, the Arctic Coast Guard Forum Members identified a need to develop joint courses and training related to Arctic Search and Rescue between Coast Guard authorities. As a response to this identified need the Arctic SAR Trainers workshop was organized in Helsinki on 28-30 May 2018. The idea of the Workshop was to gather Arctic Coast Guard authorities’ experts in the field of SAR training to discuss and identify the most relevant topics that should be included in an Arctic SAR Training. The work initiated in the workshop will result in a theoretical Arctic SAR Training module, which can be incorporated in the already existing training taking place within Arctic Coast Guards.
During the workshop polar explorer Kari "Poppis" Suomela gave a presentation on the challenges and special characteristics of the Arctic environment.
The participants of the workshop identified four individual topics that should be addressed in Arctic Search and Rescue training. The topics - Arctic rescue and survival competence, Arctic weather knowledge, Communications in the Arctic and Characteristics of Arctic SAR operations, are all issues that need to be considered in Arctic SAR operations. During the workshop the above mentioned themes were discussed in depth with regards to their importance for different training audiences. The draft of the Arctic SAR training module will be further developed during the upcoming months and it will eventually be presented to the ACGF Members in the Experts meeting in October 2018.
The participants of the workshop visited the Finnish Meteorological Institute and Arctia ltd to hear about their expertise connected to meteorological and navigation services in Arctic areas. Participants also had the opportunity to get acquainted with Arctia's icebreaker Polaris built in 2016.