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The RCMP Search and Rescue Team is gearing up for their busiest time of year.

In total, 19 trained officers are deployed to approximately 20 calls every year, often to search for people who've gone missing after leaving on outdoor activities like hiking, hunting, boating or snowmobiling. This year, the shortest search has required two person-hours and the longest required over 250 person-hours to complete. Unfortunately, team member Paul Maniagre says the team has been involved in multiple searches where the missing individual was located deceased.

He explains 2018 has already seen above the average number of calls at 24. He notes October is one of their busiest months as the weather changes.

He reminds those enjoying the great outdoors to take the necessary precautions, including telling people where you will be going, your travel route and expected date of return. He says going with other people is the best practice.

"Ideally you want to go in pairs if not more, the more people the better."

Other tips include dressing for the weather, bringing along a survival pack with food, water, lighter and matches. "The ability to make a fire will keep you alive."

Manaigre also cautions against relying on your cell phone in remote areas where service is spotty. Instead, a GPS device is recommended, he says. If lost, the best advice is still to remain in one location and wait for assistance.

The RCMP Search and Rescue Team also partners with the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC), the Search and Rescue Volunteer Association of Manitoba (SARMAN), the Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) and the Joint Rescue Coordination Center.

"The combined effort from these groups provides us with the greatest chance of locating our missing person," Manaigre says.

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