Hampshire Search and Rescue volunteers called out to missing child in Portsmouth - the team's 700th call-out
TWENTY-FOUR seven hours a day, 365 days a year, volunteers across the county are primed to find the most vulnerable of our society.
The Hampshire Search and Rescue Team (HANTSAR) marked its 700th callout this week when members headed from across the county to Portsmouth to find a missing child – who was found safely while the search teams were en route.
Team Leader and Vice Chair of HANTSAR, Trevor Vidler has been part of the organisation for four years and has been called out at all hours of the night to find high risk and vulnerable people.
He said: ‘When someone is reported missing the police it is determined if they are high risk and vulnerable as hundreds of people go missing each year but they have to determine whether the search team is required or not.’
There are approximately eighty volunteers in the team and they will receive an SOS message with the place to meet and have to reply if they can make it.
Trevor said: ‘The longest we have been out is 23 hours when we had two call outs in the same day. I think the strangest incident was when we were called out to the New Forest but were stood down and then there was a second call in the same place but that was cancelled and then the police said wait as there was a third call out up the other side of the forest.
‘My friend told me about it and I wanted to sign up because I wanted to give back to my community.’
HANTSAR was founded in 2003 and comes under the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue which coordinates search and rescue teams across the country and sets the standards of training the groups must adhere to.
Trevor said: ‘There is a lot of training to make sure we are well equipped and there are 20 competencies including map reading as well as fitness test that you have to pass in order to be on the team.’
Each month the team trains three times and specialised volunteers, including water and medical, have to complete further training.
Trevor added: ‘When I joined I remember thinking how professional and structured it was for a group of volunteers but everyone works incredibly hard including our fundraisers.’