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Lincolnshire Lowland Search and Rescue works hard to help emergency services find vulnerable people across county





When it comes to searching for missing vulnerable people across our county, professionally trained volunteers are supporting the emergency services and making all the difference in life and death situations.

Lincolnshire Lowland Search and Rescue (LincsLSAR) is one of 35 search and rescue groups in England and is part of the UK Search and Rescue organisation, which also includes the RLNI, MOD, Mountain Rescue and HM Coastguard.

It is run by a team of fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire, as far north as the south banks of the River Humber, as well as helping teams in neighbouring counties.

LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire
LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire

Last year LincsLSAR was called out 34 times to help find dementia and mental health patients, people who were despondent or suicidal, those who are autistic and children.

Chairman Glenn Smith said the group, which currently has 26 members countywide with another eight who are undergoing training, come from all walks of life.

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“We’re quite a mix of people, covering an age range from 20 up to over 70. We have a number of retired military personnel, police, fire service and ambulance, as well as people in education and finance and someone who’s ex-mountain rescue,” he explained. “They’re coming with a variety of skills and want to do some volunteering work in the outdoors.”

LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire
LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire

Other benefits of being involved are meeting new people, giving something back to the community and learning new skills.

Every search technician must be professionally trained and completes a weekend-long basic skills course plus additional training to cover navigation, outdoor first aid, manual handling and how to extricate a person using a stretcher. Volunteers are then assessed through an exercise where they demonstrate what they have learnt to a qualified assessor.

Once accredited, search technicians can complete further training in leadership skills and move on to become a search leader, an ops manager, whose role it is to liaise with teams when more than one is involved or a search manager, who helps co-ordinate a multi-agency operations. Other training volunteers can complete includes dealing with a crime scene and a high-line course so they can work beneath a helicopter and help get people lifted to safety.

Glenn said LincsLSAR members are spread out over a large area and as a result it doesn’t have the resources to have people on call all of the time.

“We’re the smallest team covering the biggest area,” he added, “because of numbers and geography - our search technicians are spread from the north of Lincoln down to Boston and Stamford in the south - we have a call down system with the police.

“A number of our team have full time jobs, so aren’t always available during the working week. People have family commitments at the weekend too, but we usually manage to get enough volunteers together to go assist with a search.

“Our team then uses national statistical data to help narrow down the areas we need to search based on the general characteristics of the person we’re trying to find. It’s vital we do this as quickly as possible, especially at this time of year when it’s possible our missing person may be out inadequately dressed for winter conditions.”

LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire
LincsLSARS are fully trained volunteers who assist police in their search for missing vulnerable people across Lincolnshire

As a registered charity LincsLSAR is responsible for all its own fundraising. It doesn’t get any government backing and relies on donations and support from businesses, individuals and the community.

Glenn says that as well encouraging more people to become qualified search technicians LincsLSAR is also keen for more people to show their support through fundraising.

“We have to pay for third party insurance, vehicle insurance, PPE for the team and rescue equipment such as ropes,” he said. “We’ve recently got our first vehicle, it’s third or fourth hand, but it will be a great support unit for us. We’re also hoping to get some smaller vehicles, which will help us cover rest of the county, but all of this does come at a cost.”

Volunteers also get involved with fundraising by taking their collection tins out into local communities where they chat to the public about their lifesaving work and also give after lunch talks to groups around the county.

*To find out more and get in touch with LincsLSAR visit lincslsar.org

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