2017-09 Standby Warminster

Sunday 19th February 2017

Team place on standby at 17:35 by Wiltshire Police to search for a missing 14yr old in the Warminster area.

Standby cancelled at 18:15 as Police located the boy safely.

Praised for our lifesaving work

9 February 2017  |  News  |  , , , , ,

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.

Wiltshire Search and Rescue red jacket

Wiltshire Search and Rescue Operational team on a search exercise

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, “The initial stages of a High Risk missing person investigation are crucial in terms of getting the right resources in the right place as soon as possible.  The welfare of the missing person is paramount.  As well as utilising specialist police resources, such as Air Support, Police Search Advisor (PolSA) and Dog units, it is imperative that we contact and deploy Wiltshire Search and Rescue as soon as we are in a position to do so.

“This opens up more options to the officer in charge of the search on the ground and greatly increases the chances of finding the person in the quickest time possible, which is the ultimate aim of the investigation.  Knowing that we can bring Wiltshire Search and Rescue volunteers to standby at the start of an investigation and then move to callout as soon as we have some defined search parameters, means that the PolSA can plan the most effective search strategy under the circumstances.

“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.”

Searching

Fully operational members on an exercise on the Marlborough Downs

  • In 2016 the team gave up 10,071 hours of their time to help missing or vulnerable people.
  • If this was converted into an average police officer’s wage, it would cost the taxpayer over £180,000.
  • For every hour that a volunteer team member spends searching for missing and vulnerable people, they spent another eight hours taking part in vital training or attending update sessions to ensure the smooth running of the organisation.
  • Nearly 80 training events took place in 2016 including joint training exercises with the other emergency services.
  • The most common areas that we were deployed to in 2016 were Swindon (15) and Salisbury (7).

Adrian Sawyer, Chair of Wiltshire Search and Rescue, added, “The statistics for 2016 show what a vital role we play in supporting the emergency services. Most importantly, vulnerable missing people that we help who need medical attention are given it by our volunteers, specifically trained to do this in an emergency situation. We directly helped to save the lives of two people last year who would have died if they had not been found and given lifesaving treatments by Wiltshire Search and Rescue volunteers.”

Wiltshire Search and Rescue takes new trainee volunteers twice a year and puts them through a rigorous training programme before they go away for a weekend course to finalise their skills and to gain their Search Technician qualification. 20 current trainees are learning basic medical skills, working alongside experienced volunteers and expert paramedics. They’re also learning how to search, how to navigate, use radio communications and have undertaken a proof of fitness walk before they’re made fully operational. They will then be able to join the more experienced team members on live searches, on-call 24/7 to support when needed.

Adrian Sawyer commented on what it’s like to be a trainee, “The commitment is important and it’s not for everyone, but the amazing sense of being able to give something back to the community is what usually drives people through the rain, the cold and the evening exercises! When we’re out searching and we’re thanked by the family and friends of the person we have been called to help, all the hard work is immediately worthwhile. It’s an honour to be able to work alongside Wiltshire Police and to give the support that is needed at a time when it’s so critical.”

Night searching

Trainees watching a simulated search and rescue at night

Charli Cumberpatch, a recruitment consultant, joined Wiltshire Search and Rescue in November 2016 because she wanted to make a real contribution, adding, “The training has been fantastic and everything we’ve learned so far has exceeded my expectations. Everyone in the team has been friendly and welcoming and there is a true feeling of everyone working towards a common goal, to help the missing person.”

Rob Owen, an enterprise wireless and routing and switching specialist, joined because he wanted to get his teeth into something, commenting, “As a family we loved geocaching, walking around the countryside looking for items so this feels like a more worthwhile version of that! I’m going to take personal satisfaction in giving something back. I’m no hero but being able to be there in someone’s hour of need is something that drives me.”

If you’re interested in joining our team then take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about what it takes.

 

 

 

 

2017-08 Callout Bulford

Tuesday 7th February 2017

Team placed on standby at 03:00 by Wiltshire Police to search for a despondent female in the Bulford area.

Team deployed at 03:20 and stood down at 03:45 as lady was located safely by Police.

At the time of find we were in the process of requesting mutual support from Hampshire Search and Rescue.

Frequently Asked Questions

4 February 2017  |  News, Training & Events

 

Wiltshire Search and Rescue red jacket

Wiltshire Search and Rescue Operational team on a search exercise

We have a new members’ information evening taking place on Wednesday 15th March at the Cheese Hall, Town Hall, Devizes.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of the team then please read our Frequently Asked Questions page before applying. We’re always looking for dedicated, committed volunteers but before you contact us, take a look at what you’ll be signing up to.

 

2017-07 Standby Swindon

Thursday 26th January 2017

Team placed on Standby at 21:00 by Wiltshire Police for a possible missing person search in Swindon.

Team weren’t deployed and Standby cancelled at 22:40 pending further Police enquiries.

2017-06 Callout Highworth

Tuesday 24th January 2017

Called out at 05:30 by Wiltshire Police to conduct a search operation for a high risk missing elderly man with dementia in the Highworth area.

Fortunately the gentleman was found by the Ambulance Service and treated for hypothermia. Team stood down at 05:50.

New Members’ Evening

22 January 2017  |  News, Training & Events  |  , , ,

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Date for your diary – we’re holding an information evening for people interested in volunteering for us. It will be on Wednesday 15th March and if you’d like further details once they’re finalised, then please email membership@wilsar.org.uk

2017-05 Standby Amesbury

Sunday 22 January 2017

Placed on standby by Wiltshire Police at 01:55 to search for a suicidal male in the Amesbury/Salisbury area.

Stand down ordered at 03:00 as young man was located by Police.

2017-04 Berkshire assist callout

Tuesday 17th January 2017

Team’s assistance requested at 13:30 by Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue to search for a missing man near Newbury.

Stood down at 15:10 when the man was located and deployed members returned home by 17:00.

2017-03 Standby Lacock

Sunday 15th January 2017

Team place on standby at 20:10 to assist Wiltshire Police with a missing female with mental health problems in the Lacock area.

Search Manager was deployed to the scene to liase with Police. Missing lady was located by police shortly after and standby cancelled at 21:15.