Every week in the UK, vulnerable people go missing or get lost, often as a result of mental health trauma or conditions linked to forms of dementia. The emergency services do not have the resource or the level of training required to search for and rescue such people. As part of Severn Area Rescue (SARA), we are in the process of establishing a volunteer search and rescue team and hub in our Cotswolds community. The Fire Brigade have kindly supplied us with a base at Cirencester Fire station. We are currently training our volunteer search and rescue technicians (6 months training). From June 2022 we will provide the police across the Cotswolds with a professional volunteer team to respond to each emergency, where a person is missing or lost. It is vital that the team have the medical equipment to treat a casualty and to provide a safe means (search & rescue stretchers) to evacuate a casualty to safety, when their condition does not allow them to do so themselves.
What we'll deliver:
- Casualty med kit and rescue stretchers for casualty evacuation on rough terrain.
- Search technician first aid kits.
- Rope rescue kit for steep ground & cliff rescue
Why it's a great idea:
Any family, in any part of our community could end up having to report a loved one as missing. Whether this be an elderly relative suffering from dementia, a young person lost after a night out, a friend going through some difficult times with their mental health or a child running away from home, it is vital that a search is undertaken at the earliest possible moment to maximise the chances of a positive outcome. The police rely on highly trained volunteers who can respond 24 hours a day, regardless of the weather, to carry out well established search techniques and deal with medical emergencies that may have arisen due to exposure to the elements or a fall due to the terrain. The Cotswolds Search & Rescue team will be on call 365 days of the year and will work directly with the police, within minutes of a missing person report. They will be trained and will work alongside experienced search & rescue leaders who live in our community, to facilitate an immediate search.
Steps to get it done:
- Casualty care kit and stretchers installed at Cirencester Fire Station, ready for search & rescue call out.
- Every search technician provided with personal search equipment, including first aid kit.
- To ensure that the search team has the minimum equipment to commence live searches, as directed by local police forces.
SARA was originally set up as a lifeboat service on the River Seven and its estuary but over time their search and rescue skills have been called upon more and more, to carry out land searches for missing persons. In 2021 SARA carried out 55 missing person searches and it has become clear that their reach and capacity has become stretched. Members of SARA who live in the Cotswolds have decided that a community search team is required to cover our area and support our police forces. 7 volunteers have joined the established search and rescue crew and have set up base at Cirencester fire station. Their intense training started in November and they will be qualified search & rescue technicians by June 2022. At that point they will be ready to respond to police call outs at any time, but cannot carry out this work without charitable donations to pay for the much needed rescue and medical equipment and a rescue vehicle to be based at the fire station.