Special Services Unit (SSU)

The Special Services Unit, known as the SSU, is the physical response unit of SARBC and is responsible for the delivery of the majority of the search and rescue services provided by the Search and Rescue Society of British Columbia.

The SSU has a defined command structure and follows incident command system when active on a response.  The Chief of Operations oversees the Deputy Chief of Operations and the Assistant Chief of Operations below the chiefs are the Division Directors and Division Managers.

Special Services Unit: Command Structure
SARBC – Special Services Unit: Command Structure

The Special Services Unit has three divisions that work together to deliver search, rescue and recovery services across British Columbia.  The Analysis Division is responsible for theoretical analysis as well as quantitative and qualitative analysis of physical anomalies.  The Response Division carries out all external physical response including Project Lifesaver in Greater Victoria and all other response services throughout British Columbia.  The Logistics Division is responsible for the infrastructure that supports the other SSU divisions including vehicles, communications, equipment, and base camp.

Land SAR

  • Active Confinement Systems
  • Unsearched Segment Active Monitoring
  • Airborne Thermal Imaging
  • Land based Thermal Scanning
  • Enhanced Night Sign Detection
  • Field Forensic Techniques
  • Subsurface Imaging: Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR)
  • Void Detection
  • Human Remains Detection
  • Subsurface Imaging: Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR)

Pre and Post Search Suspension

  • Differential Sign Analysis
  • Shifting Probability Analysis
  • Subject and Terrain Analysis
  • Customized Behavioural Profile Examination
  • Layered POD Analysis
  • Differential Sign Analysis
  • Subject Situational Analysis
  • POA Justification
  • Red Team Tactical Analysis
  • Analysis to Support Suspension
  • Probability Audit

Underwater Search

  • Done in conjunction with traditional surface and shore SAR techniques.
  • Analysis / Research
  • Wide Area Scanning
  • Potential Target Analysis
  • Narrow Area Scanning (high resolution)
  • Target Confirmation
  • Target recovery
  • Towed Side Scan SONAR
  • Large Area Multiple Fish Towed Metal Detection
  • Dropped Scanning SONAR
  • Towed / Dropped High Resolution Video
  • Submersible Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) with Manipulator and Cutter
  • Ground Penetrating RADAR (frozen surface)

Confined Space

Systems and techniques generally utilized in conjunction with local area SAR and first responders in the first four rescue stages. Search of areas and locations not intended for habitation. Tools utilized by the SSU: SCBA Systems, Toxic and Explosive gas detection, Ventalation equipment, Ultra-Wideband RADAR (life detection)

Structural Collapse

Systems and techniques generally utilized in conjunction with local area SAR and first responders in the first four rescue stages. Phases; size up, hazard mitigation, planning, primary (wide area) search, narrow area search, subsurface search, subject location. Structural Stabilization to enable searching Trapped person location Systems utilized by the SSU: Acoustic detectors, Void detector, Thermal scanning, Thermal imaging, Ultra-Wideband RADAR (life detection), Ground Penetrating RADAR (GPR), Video (snake, probe, drop), Geophone active monitoring, Drop microphones (2 way)