Witness the dramatic conditions that volunteers face during rescue missions in the video above.
Iceland is a land of climatic extremes. Even well-prepared people can find themselves stuck in the snow or caught in an erupting volcano. That’s where the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue (SAR) comes in. There’s no army or National Guard in case of emergency on the island, so this all-volunteer organization provides vital public services to local communities—such as sea and mountain rescues, unblocking roads due to ice and snow, evaluating safety equipment, providing safety education to children, and more.
In a new partnership beginning in 2021, Grand Circle Foundation will be supporting the SAR youth program in Grindavik. Here, instructors donate their time to train teenage volunteers. There are 30 teenage members of the youth program in Grindavik, and they meet once a week. Children as young as 14 years old can join the search and rescue team, and upon their 18th birthday, they graduate to the adult unit. Prior to joining, they may have attended a youth outdoors school in Snaefellsnes, which acts as both a training center for search and rescue, as well as an opportunity to learn survival skills like first aid, sailing techniques, and more.
Grand Circle Foundation also is supporting SAR by donating life-sustaining equipment to the organization. Since the country’s first search and rescue team was established in 1918 in the Westman Islands, the organization has grown to include approximately 100 search-and-rescue teams, 70 accident prevention divisions, and 50 youth programs with around 10,000 volunteers across Iceland. These highly trained men and women operate from most towns throughout the country.
We’ll meet with the brave volunteers at Iceland’s Search and Rescue Center and learn about the rescue missions they’ve conducted during our Enhanced! Untamed Iceland adventure.