Who are Leicestershire Search and Rescue?
Leicestershire Search and Rescue is a unit of trained and dedicated volunteers who will provide search and rescue assistance to preserve life both independently and in association with the full time emergency services and other voluntary aid societies and to assist in the relief of suffering amongst persons endangered by accident or natural hazard principally in Leicestershire though without geographical limitation.
Is Lowland SAR the same as mountain rescue?
No, whilst lowland teams are trained in the same basic search techniques the skills required are slightly different in order to suit the terrain. Mountain rescue teams affiliate to the Mountain Rescue Council [or the Mountain Rescue Committee for Scotland] whilst the lowland teams affiliate to the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue [ALSAR]. All three organisations are recognised by the UK Government and have close links with each other. Lowland SAR managers are trained to Mountain Rescue Council standards by Mountain Rescue Council trainers.
Does LEICSAR receive money from the Government for its activities?
No, the team is funded entirely by charitable means.
Do members of LEICSAR get paid for searching?
Members of the team do not receive any payment for searching and do so purely on a voluntary basis.
Who can join LEICSAR?
LEICSAR members can come from any walk of life, it is this diversity of searchers that gives LEICSAR and other ALSAR teams its strength. Operational searchers must be aged over 18 due to insurance restrictions and able to walk at least 5 miles in 2 hours.
However, the group also needs non-operational members (who may be of any age) for roles such as administrators, fund-raisers and to maintain essential equipment, in support of operational members, so if you feel you would prefer to help in those ways please get in touch.
All new members will have to agree to undergoing an enhanced CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check.
What skills do I need to join Leicestershire Search and Rescue?
No specific skills are needed to join, as we provide training recognised to a national standard. Commitment enthusiasm and the ability to work as part of a team are more important.
Is there a minimum commitment from me?
We ask that you make a minimum of 18 months commitment to the team and to become fully operational you will need to attend and pass the Basic Search Technicians Course, a two day course that takes place over a weekend.
We appreciate you will be a volunteer, but we do specify a minimum number of attendance at training evenings and exercises during the year. Whilst we understand that work and family commitments are priorities you should be willing to make every effort to respond to callouts and training whenever possible. It is your responsibility to discuss your Search and Rescue duties with your employer to check whether it is possible to leave work during your normal working hours.
You will be on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and should be able to respond to a search within one hour. Your time at a search will vary depending on the location and circumstances of the search but could last up to six hours.
Do I need any special equipment?
We recommend some basic equipment such as, a pair of good walking boots, clothing appropriate to weather conditions, but this does not need to cost a great deal. You will also require a mobile phone, so that you can be contacted. However, our aim is to provide any specialist equipment required.
You will be expected to have most of the core equipment after a few months. You must have all the equipment prior to going on searches. LEICSAR will provide items such as radios, advanced first aid kit and any personal protection equipment that may be required. As we are currently in the start up stage, as may be imagined cash is at a premium, so it will be necessary to charge a membership fee, though the figure is yet to be decided.
In addition, during the initial period, it may be necessary for new members to self-fund the cost of third party training. Transport You will need to make your own arrangements to attend searches and members are encouraged to car share where possible. There may be opportunities to share lifts in team vehicles depending on where you live.
What Training is available to me?
In order to become an 'operational' member and take part in 'live searches' you will need to attend at least eight training sessions and then complete a Basic Search Technicians Course. This course will provide you with the training and skills you need to work as a member of a search team (normally 4-6 people). Further training is provided in a variety of roles (see below). Exercises are conducted regularly to improve team skills.
How far can I progress in the organisation?
The highest attainable level is Search Manager - this is a national qualification and can be obtained from the Mountain Rescue Council.
Search management is a specialist role and can be very demanding. During non operational times there is no hierarchy within the unit and everyone is treated equally. Prospective search managers will be expected to rise through the ranks and have gained experience in the roles of team leader and search controller on the way.
The Roles -
Lowland SAR Technician (LST)
This is the first stage of operational service within LEICSAR, members in this role have attended the SAR Tech course with a member team of ALSAR.
Acting Lowland SAR Team Leader (ATL)
Once a member has achieved SAR TECH status they can go on to become a SAR Team Leader. Whislt continuing their training they will undertake the role of Team Leader for a probationary period.
Lowland SAR Team Leader (TL)
Once a member has achieved SAR TECH status they can go on to become a SAR Team Leader. The SAR TL is responsible for a single search team whilst deployed including navigation
Search Planner (SP)
This involves advanced levels of search theory taught to international standards. Many POLSAs (Police Search Advisors) are qualified to Search Manager level.
Search Operations Manager (SOM)
Search Manager (SM)
Whatever the time day or night the team's welfare is key. The role not only takes care of the catering arrangements they also help keep the team motivated but also the welfare of individual team members.
Not all our members are operational. All non operational members are deemed to be support and apart from attending training also assist on events, administration and fundraising. Some of our members join solely to assist us in the running of the team.
How do I apply to become a team member?
After looking through our website and the information provided please visit our Join Us page, where you can find further details. However, should you have a further questions please feel free to contact us, we will be happy answer any questions you may have.