The Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team provide a vital service in providing search and rescue cover for the whole of the Northumbria Police area. This is a vast and largely remote and unpopulated area encompassing all of Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, and measuring approximately 5000 square kilometers (3000 square miles). The team are members of NESRA, the North East Search and Rescue Association, one of the regional panels which constitute Mountain Rescue (England and Wales) the national governing body for all mountain rescue teams. As a secondary responsibility we can be called to assist one of the other NESRA teams on a protracted or difficult incident and similarly we can call upon them for assistance when required.
The team, in common with all mountain rescue teams in England and Wales, is made up entirely of volunteers who give of their time freely and without financial reward. Team members are comitted individuals, outdoor people who already have a high degree of competency in outdoor skills and are keen to 'put something back' into the activity which they enjoy. The team train regularly and members are expected to attend at least 50% of all training in order to consolidate and develop their skills and remain on the call-out list. There are opportunities for members to extend their skills with advanced training in a number of discreet areas of team operations.
Although voluntary in nature we pride ourselves on the 'professional' service which we provide.
Pete Roberts, team leader of Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT), has been invited to speak at New Zealand’s LandSAR (Search and Rescue) bi-annual conference. He will make presentations to these search and rescue volunteers about the work he has done during the 40+ years he has been in mountain rescue as part of NNPMRT and also as a founding member of The Centre for Search Research (TCSR).
TCSR was founded in 1998 as a registered charity by Pete and his colleague Dave Perkins to allow them to progress research into various aspects of searching for missing persons. Their main focus has been on two fundamentals of the ‘problem’ of missing; where to look and how to look. These two aspects form the basis of training courses that they have delivered around the world.
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Pete will also be talking to a group of New Zealand Police and the New Zealand SAR Secretariat about his involvement in Lockerbie and the UK Study of Missing Person Behaviour. This study helps plan where to look for various categories of missing persons and is based on what people, who have been the subject of a missing person incident, have done previously. It allows search planners to build a profile of the missing person and then predict possible locations where they might be and how far they might have travelled. This gives a focus for a likely area to search.
TCSR has also developed techniques for searching for missing persons, particularly the first response to a search when time and urgency are crucial. TCSR have focused on this period, The Initial Response phase, which can be likened to the paramedic ‘golden hour’ when an urgent response can save lives.