On the Water

During the Christmas break, the water team took the opportunity to gather members for some boat handling practice. It is important to keep competent with skills that aren’t put to use each and every week.
The thermometer read only 2 degrees. Visibility was almost as close to zero as the temperature and yet six team members donned their PPE and prepared for a day on the water.

Any water is potentially dangerous, these two conditions add to the complexity but ultimately excitement too. BSAR is lucky to have enthusiastic and experienced water team leads meaning we were able to practice through play pushing skills to the limit.

In fact it was great to learn how the boat responds if you get something slightly wrong. Lifting off the throttle when surfing down the crest of the wake converted our RIB into a submersible, something you would never want to happen near a rescue or safety situation. In a controlled environment with a skilled helmsman it brought both smiles and looks of panic across the faces of everyone.

This training couldn’t have as easily have been done without the support of Datchet sailing club. It was great to practice on a reservoir where buoys can be used to practice against with little chance of entanglement or bashing against other obstacles.

Radio Upgrade

In September our radio system had an upgrade. All the Lowland Recue teams in the Thames Valley Police area now have an enhanced ability to communicate with each other on our own digital, encrypted, secure network.

As well as mobile repeaters (transmitters) in our Incident Control Vehicles, there are static repeaters on telecoms masts across Bucks and the Thames Valley policing region that allow us to communicate and coordinate search and other emergency activity between the team members, team operations control and between teams, maximising the organisational and operational coverage across the region.

Pictured are the ICVs of Midshires, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Search and Rescue teams.

Navigation Training

Recently several new team members had their navigation skills assessed around the hills and woods of Buckinghamshire. Navingation is an essential part of a search and all team members are required to be competent navigatiors. We are currently training the team up to National Navigational Award Scheme (NNAS) Silver level.

 

Team Callouts

We are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, ready to aid the Police in the search for missing people in Buckinghamshire, and also further afield.

In the last few weeks, the team has searched for missing people in Bucks itself, Oxfordshire, assisting Oxfordshire Search & Rescue, Berkshire, assisting Berkshire Lowland Search & Rescue, Hertfordshire, assisting Midshires Search and Rescue and, as part of a national Lowland Rescue callout, assisting with a major police search in the Hitchin area along with many other teams from across the country.

 

Boat Team Training

Even when training, the team are fully equipped with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to ensure that the training environment is as realistic as possible and that the team are used to operating both the boat and the essential equipment to keep themselves safe.