Could we be looking for you?

3 August 2017  |  News, Training & Events
Wiltshire Search and Rescue red jacket

Wiltshire Search and Rescue Operational team on a search exercise

If you’d like to become part of the team then please come and meet us!

We’re holding a new members’ information evening on 27th September at the Cheese Hall in Devizes between 1930 and 2130.

Read up about joining and then email membership@wilsar.org.uk to register your interest.

Full press release below

Could we be looking for you?

Wiltshire Search and Rescue needs volunteers!

Vital search and rescue volunteers are needed by Wiltshire Search and Rescue (www.wilsar.org.uk) to continue the important work of supporting the police in looking for and helping the county’s vulnerable and missing people.  More volunteers are needed to ensure the team can continue to provide a high level of assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week so an information evening has been organised for Wednesday 27th September in Devizes for interested people to come and learn more.

A recent search for an elderly man with dementia took place over three days and we were successful in finding him and ensuring he was taken to a place of safety. After the search his wife had this to say about Wiltshire Search and Rescue, “Knowing that you were out looking for him gave me the strength to carry on. I am so grateful to you all for what you did and I feel like this is my lucky day.”

Wiltshire Search and Rescue’s members, who range from teachers to delivery drivers, are all volunteers who receive the essential training needed to help save the lives of anyone from small children to elderly people suffering from dementia.

Established since 2000, the organisation is holding an information evening at the Cheese Hall in Devizes. Starting at 1930 on 27th September, the event aims to showcase the great work that the search and rescue team does every year, and will allow potential volunteers to get a taste of the scale and variety of the organisation.

Chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, Adrian Sawyer, encourages everyone with an interest in helping the team to come along and learn more. “You don’t need to commit many hours a month but our volunteers make a huge difference to the families of the missing people. Our work, alongside Wiltshire Police, been commended by the families of the people that we support and we do it because we really can make a difference. In an average year, we’ll be called out about 50 times, giving over 10,000 hours of our time to help the people of Wiltshire.”

In 2016 Wiltshire Search and Rescue volunteers were called out 43 times by Wiltshire Police to help locate vulnerable and missing people, including saving the lives of two people they found. The volunteers were also asked a further eight times to assist with neighbouring Search and Rescue teams, bringing the total number of call-outs to 51, almost one a week, throughout 2016.

In recognition of the hours of searching that Wiltshire Search and Rescue’s team has given for free to their local community, Inspector Paul Saunders from Wiltshire Police, had this to say in thanks, “When you speak to a Wiltshire Search and Rescue volunteer their pride in what they do and their dedication to their craft is tangible. Their willingness to be on call, at all hours of the day, for no reward other than knowing they have been directly involved in saving lives does them credit.  Wiltshire Police is very pleased to be associated with them and look forward to continuing the close working relationship that exists between us.”

Membership Officer, Cris Wiles, adds, “When we get the call from the police, it is vital that searchers are on the ground quickly, especially when bad weather makes the risk to the missing person even greater. If you are looking for a truly rewarding volunteering opportunity, and want to help save lives, then we’d love you to come to our event in Devizes. You’ll get a chance to hear from the team about our roles – everything from searching in water to dealing with a medical emergency – and work out where your skills and experience could fit.”

There are several roles within Wiltshire Search and Rescue but what is most important is that volunteers are motivated, committed and outgoing. Full training will be given so no experience is necessary. Roles range from Search Technicians who will take part in the search and rescue operations, through to supporting team members such as fundraisers, administration and maintenance.

Every volunteer will receive the appropriate kit and be welcomed to a professional team where you can make good friends, explore the outdoors and be rewarded with the satisfaction of supporting your county and making a vital difference to the most vulnerable members of our community.

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors

Wiltshire Search and Rescue’s new members’ information evening

Wednesday 27th September

1930-2200

Cheese Hall

Town Hall

St John’s Street

Devizes

Wiltshire

SN10 1BN

 

If people are interested in attending they should email membership@wilsar.org.uk

 

Family send thanks for our support in finding missing George

Family so thankful after Wiltshire Search and Rescue finds George

After nearly 600 hours of searching involving 51 people, two Search and Rescue tracking dogs and spanning four days, Wiltshire Search and Rescue team members were successful in finding missing George Bassett, an 82 year old man with dementia. George was immediately taken to hospital where he is recovering well. The family has lived in Nomansland near Landford for 50 years and George has always been a keen walker.

Pamela Bassett, George’s wife, said today, “Knowing that you were out looking for him gave me the strength to carry on. I am so grateful to you all for what you did and I feel like this is my lucky day.” Pamela, who celebrates her 81st birthday today (22nd July) added, “Everybody from Wiltshire Police and from the search and rescue organisations couldn’t have done more and I can’t thank you enough.”

Walking

Searching for George Bassett

George had been reported missing on Tuesday 18th July from his home in Nomansland, at the edge of the county bordering the New Forest. Wiltshire Police called the professionally trained volunteers from Wiltshire Search and Rescue to assist in the planning and the search. Volunteers were also called from neighbouring Lowland Rescue teams: Hampshire Search and Rescue, Hampshire Search Dogs, Dorset Search and Rescue, and Dorset Search Dogs.

Planning

Adrian Sawyer, Chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, had this to say about the multiple teams who brought about the success of this search, “We are really pleased with the outcome of this search and it was absolutely worth the lost sleep, the miles walked, the thunder, lightening, and torrential rain that we all endured in order to bring George safely back to his family. I’m proud of the way all the teams worked together seamlessly and supported Wiltshire Police. This is truly why we train so hard and volunteer our time.”

Water ii

The search was coordinated by Wiltshire Police who also used their drone and their helicopter to scour the fields and woodland around Nomansland in sometimes very challenging conditions. The teams on the ground quickly reacted to the information coming in from a variety of sources and were able to systematically search a large area of fields, crops, a reservoir and woodland.

Team work

Lightening

Wiltshire Search and Rescue is a voluntary organisation funded entirely through voluntary donations. The team is professionally trained and is called out by Wiltshire Police to support with finding vulnerable and missing people. In 2016 over 10,000 hours of volunteer hours were given to the community by the team. Our volunteers come from all walks of life and are united in their desire to be there when people need us most.

If you’d like to donate to the team to support our equipment, our vehicle and our training please visit http://wilsar.org.uk/donate

 

www.wilsar.org.uk

Facebook: @wilsarteam

Twitter: @WiltshireSAR

 

For press information about Wiltshire Search and Rescue, please call Sarah Wolf, PR 07747 733216 or email pr@wilsar.org.uk

 

About Wiltshire Search and Rescue

Wiltshire Search and Rescue is a non-profit making organisation that relies on our own fundraising, along with donations and sponsorship from the public and local businesses. We receive no government funding or subsidies and are a registered charity. All of our members are unpaid volunteers and we make no charge for our services.

 

The team consists of approximately 50 members. All operational members are trained to the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue (ALSAR) standards. We have a number of ALSAR trained Team Leaders, Search Planners and Search Managers. One of these members is on duty at all times and will arrange the call-out of the Team via an SMS system. Searches are usually managed on the ground by our own Search Managers who act under the direction of a Police Search Advisor.

 

2017-07-18 CALLOUT NOMANSLAND – Update

21 July 2017  |  Latest callouts, News

*UPDATE*

George Bassett has now been found.

 

Statement from Wiltshire Police

“We are pleased to report that George Bassett, the 82-year-old man who has been missing from Nomansland, Salisbury, since 18 July, has today been found safe and well.

Mr Bassett was found by police search teams and Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR) working alongside each other.

The wife of Mr Bassett would like to thank everyone involved in the search efforts including the police officers, volunteers from WILSAR and the local community for their support and help.

Wiltshire Police would also like to thanks the volunteers of WILSAR for their invaluable help in this search.”

http://www.wiltshire.police.uk/news/3925-missing-man-george-bassett-found

 

We have been called out by Wiltshire Police to support with a search for a missing 82 year old man called George Bassett. George has dementia and was last seen on Tuesday 18th July in Nomansland where he lives. Teams have been searching day and night since we were called to support.

 

Wiltshire Police’s latest update on the search from their website http://www.wiltshire.police.uk/news/appeals/3921-missing-man-george-bassett-update

Officers are still searching for missing 82-year-old George Bassett who has gone missing from Nomansland, near Salisbury.

George was last seen near to the Nomansland Village Hall around midday on Tuesday 18 July 2017.

George is vulnerable, may be confused and requires daily medication which is not with him.

Volunteers from Wiltshire Search and Rescue (WILSAR), including members from Avon and Somerset and Dorset, helped in the search from mid-afternoon until 9pm yesterday (Wed 19 July).

Acting Inspector Russell Griffin said: “Officers are continuing the search for George today.
“We would like to remind people to check their sheds, garages and gardens.
“We’d like to thank the local community who have so far shared messages on social media and have shown concern.
“I’d like to remind people that we currently don’t need volunteers to help in our search as we have specialist teams looking for George.
“However, if you have any information about George’s whereabouts, please contact Wiltshire Police on 101.”

Volunteers Week 2017 and our new film

31 May 2017  |  News

To mark Volunteers’ Week 2017, we’ve had a film made that shows the techniques involved in a search. Our volunteers train extremely hard and specialise in a number of different areas to ensure we are able to fully support the emergency services both on land and on water.

To view the film click here.

Van

Van

This film was shot on location at Coate Water during Exercise Bulrush, a joint training day with a number of organisations including Wiltshire Police, South Western Ambulance Service and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue.

With huge thanks to Razor Television for shooting and producing the film for free.

#volunteers week

 

 

2017-12 Callout Swindon continued

Thursday 13th April 2017

Team placed on standby at 11:00 to continue search for a missing despondent male in the Blunsdon area.

Team deployed at 12:30 and stood down again at 17:20 pending further Police enquiries.

2017-11 Callout Swindon

Wednesday 12th April 2017

Called at 21:30 by Wiltshire Police to search for a missing  despondent male in the Blunsdon area of Swindon.

Search continued throughout night and Team was stood down at 06:30 pending further Police enquiries.

2017-10 Callout Highworth

Thursday 6th April 2017

Called out by Wiltshire Police at 12:50 to search for a high-risk missing teenager in the Highworth area.

Team stood down at 20:00 as girl was located safely by Police.

Moooove

17 March 2017  |  News

Being part of a mixed urban and rural Search and Rescue unit means that occasionally we get our hands dirty in a different way….

Cris, our Membership Officer, tells us more:

“After my last search with our Chair, Adrian Sawyer, when on our way back from the search we managed to find a young motorcyclist parked in a hedge (not classified as the missing person – he’d come off his bike), it has always made me think of what could be.

“Little did I know then that on the 16th of March at 11:30pm I would also be engaged in a major rescue operation involving three police cars, two quad bikes and a tractor. On a busy stretch of road (the A360 between West Lavington and Tilshead), a herd of cows had made a break for freedom.  I think they were heading for the pub in West Lavington but as it was already last orders and the cows didn’t have either Hi-VIZ or torches, I decided it was best to help them see the errors of their escaping ways.

“As the only Hi-Viz I had in the car was my Wiltshire Search and Rescue one, we can now legitimately say that we’ve assisted a large, bovine rescue operation and the rural crime unit (pretty sure the cows could be done for trespass, breaking and entering, and attempting to take intoxicating liquor while being under age). After some interesting encounters with the beasties over the next couple of hours all the cows were located and back in their barn with a stern telling off from the farmer.”

Wiltshire Search and Rescue – here for vulnerable and missing people, and cows.

 

Cows

Cows

New Members’ Information Evening 15th March

Searching

Fully operational members on an exercise on the Marlborough Downs

We’re holding a new members’ information evening on Wednesday 15th March at Devizes Town Hall between 1930 and 2200. This is an ideal opportunity to hear from operational team members about what it’s like to volunteer for us. All are welcome but please email membership@wilsar.org.uk to confirm your place and please read

our Frequently Asked Questions before making a decision!

If you are interested in attending then please arrive in good time so that the presentation can start at 1930. We do require all new volunteers to attend this session. Our training schedule means that we cannot join volunteers unless they attend our new members’ information evening.

We look forward to meeting you on 15th March.

Don’t worry, we’ll get you out of here

20 February 2017  |  News, Training & Events  |  , , , ,

“Don’t worry, we’ll get you out of here” are exactly the kind of comforting words that you need when you’ve fallen in a dense, wooded area and have broken your leg. And they’re exactly the words I heard from the professional, comforting team at Wiltshire Search and Rescue this weekend.

Casualty in a basket stretcher

I’m safely in that stretcher!

It had started as a normal Sunday exercise. I’ve been part of the team since October, supporting the organisation with voluntary public relations support (speaking to the media and making sure our Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn are updated). As part of my immersion into Wiltshire Search and Rescue, it became apparent very early on that for me to fully understand the workings of a search, and what happens when we find vulnerable and missing people, I needed to learn how to become a Search Technician. So along with about 20 other new trainees I’ve been spending every Wednesday evening and most Sundays learning the amazing array of skills needed to be a professional Search Technician. We’ve learned basic life support, water awareness, how to search a route and path, how to area search, how to use a radio, casualty care, using throw lines, what kit we carry, how to search efficiently, how to respond to a call-out and yesterday, we were putting it all into practice above Devizes at Roundway Hill.

My team of five were searching a wooded area for our ‘missing’ person – a lady called ‘Julie’ who was known to be depressed and who had been missing for nearly 24 hours. It was a common scenario that the team would be called to – in fact in 2016, Wiltshire Search and Rescue volunteers were called out 51 times, giving over 10,000 hours of voluntary time supporting Wiltshire Police and occasionally other county’s police forces too. We were spread out over a steep area, looking in front, to the side and behind us all the way through the wood. The terrain was quite challenging but the Team Leader made sure we were all safe which is always our first concern, as we can’t help our missing person if we’re down a team member because of a sprained ankle….

Then the call came over the radio that I needed to get back to the control vehicle immediately. After a quick consultation with the other team members, it was agreed that I shouldn’t go back on my own so another member came with me, leaving the three to continue the search for ‘Julie’.

What none of the 35 others on the exercise realised was that I was about to become the casualty! Planned in advance to test our team’s advanced medical skills and their understanding of how to ‘package’ and ‘extract’ a casualty, I now had to walk away from the route and ‘break’ my leg.

Team members helping

Moving across rough ground, barbed wire and into the woods

We called my fall into the control van – an incredibly sophisticated vehicle where our Search Planner and Search Manager sit and liaise with the police about our ongoing search. They reassured us that help was on the way, and sure enough within about 10 minutes it was our medical lead who came striding through the woods with kit, team members and his comforting words.

The situation, and my condition, were assessed using the Primary Survey which works through a series of checks to assess danger, response of the casualty, injuries and next steps. I was quickly comforted by team members as our Medical Lead got to work finding out what had happened. Throughout I felt in completely safe hands, and each step was explained to me as my boots were removed and my entirely fictitious broken leg was put in a splint ready for me to be moved to a stretcher and carried out of the woods to the waiting ambulance.

The Team’s care and concern was evident but what was most apparent was the calm professionalism of all involved. I was moved from the ground into an emergency blanket (like a huge orange duvet) then the basket stretcher was moved underneath me, before the team moved me out of the wood. Even though I weigh 12 stone the small team managed to expertly manoeuvre me over the rough ground, through a barbed wire fence and across a ploughed field before they walked to the road to meet the approaching ambulance.

Team member waiting for medical help to arrive

Team member waiting for medical help to arrive in the woods

It was an incredibly interesting experience and one which most of us will hopefully never have to live through. But in order to understand what it must be like to be an injured, scared, missing person it was invaluable. Thank you Wiltshire Search and Rescue for everything you do and I’m extremely proud to be part of the organisation.

If you’re interested in joining Wiltshire Search and Rescue as a volunteer then please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.