The Ontario Volunteer Emergency Response Team (OVERT) Inc. is an entirely new concept in community participation, education and response to Search and Rescue operations, community emergencies and disasters. Our team has expanded upon our original role as a SAR team, taking from this experience to make our organization more capable of assisting our community during major community emergencies.
Search and Rescue is the primary function of OVERT. We are able to provide to the police services highly skilled SAR personnel to assist with search operations for missing persons. OVERT is also able to provide much more than SAR personnel. We also are able to provide all the support resources needed to conduct such an operation. This includes SAR managers, communications equipment, logistical support and equipment, command posts and specialized SAR resources.
Essentially all that is needed to run a SAR operation is within OVERT’s operational ability, therefore limiting the need to draw on our partner agencies resources during an event.
Traditionally, community organizations are used for “outside the tape” roles during a disaster, this referring to the fact that many organizations provide “low risk” assistance. OVERT is not traditional. Our vision is to provide an integrated, professional, reliable and experienced community response to front line emergency services. This new concept is referred to as “second tier response.” OVERT is the first program of its type in Ontario that provides the emergency services with a community based “inside the tape” surge capacity.
During a major incident whether it be; a search operation, disaster or community emergency it will draw on the resources of the first responders and emergency management agencies. OVERTs intent is to provide volunteers that work with these agencies during these events to help the community affected.
Our team members are all volunteers who dedicate a significant amount of time to their training and operations. These “unpaid professionals” come from all walks of life giving of themselves for their community. All team members undergo significant ongoing training to ensure that we provide the highest level of service.
OVERT has also expanded on our role within our own community by responding internationally. Our international unit Canadian International Search and Rescue (CANISAR) is able to provide technical SAR personnel, medical personnel, Canine SAR teams and water purification specialist to respond to a wide variety of disasters and humanitarian crisis across the globe.