Will you volunteer for the Mountain Search and Rescue Team?

By Contributed Item in Emergency Services

The Western Beacons Mountain Search and Rescue Team is recruiting new volunteer members to join its operational team.

This weekend saw the 40th callout of 2017 for the Western Beacons Mountain Search and Rescue Team. That figure made the first half of 2017 even busier for the team’s volunteer members than the first half of 2016 – a year which in itself saw the team respond to a record number of callouts in its 52-year history.

With this ever-increasing demand on its volunteer team members seemingly set to continue, the Western Beacons team is inviting applications from people aged 18 and over who are keen to learn more about joining the upcoming intake of trainees.

Speaking about what the team looks for in new trainee members, spokesperson Trevor James, said: “You don’t need to be an expert mountaineer or climber to join – but a keen interest in the outdoors would be beneficial. A desire to help people in distress is essential.”

Operating from its main base at Sarn in Bridgend and a new satellite base which opened at Pontardawe in the Swansea Valley in March of this year, the team will consider potential new members from across south and mid Wales, but is particularly keen to hear from anyone close to either its main or satellite base.

Covering its own ‘patch’ of around 2,400 square miles that extends as far west as Pembrokeshire and as far east as Penarth, team members never know what the next callout could be.

Aside from the rescue of lost and injured hill walkers, climbers and mountain bikers, an ever-growing and substantial amount of the team’s callouts focuses on searching for missing and vulnerable children and adults, ranging from children with autism, elderly people with dementia or people deemed to be at a high risk of committing suicide.

Additionally, in the last year the team was called out to attend varied incidents as RTCs where vehicles had left the road, fallen or thrown horse riders, a rolled 4x4 vehicle and even a dog stuck on a ledge at a disused quarry – which was quickly and safely recovered and returned to its owner.

Deputy team leader Andrew Evans said: “What the team does can often be very demanding; demanding physically and demanding emotionally, such as when we sadly have to deal with fatalities.

“However, the sense of personal achievement in reuniting a missing person with their loved ones or in making sure that an injured person is swiftly evacuated is immensely satisfying.”

Anyone interested in joining the team should email the team secretary at secretary@westernbeacons.org.uk.

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