On Tuesday September 29th, DSRTP welcomed distinguished guests and supporters to Plymouth on the occasion of the official opening of the new team Rescue Centre.
After several years of intense fundraising, DSRTP purchased the premises, an industrial warehouse on the outskirts of Plymouth, between the Moor and the City after renting for a year and a half.
On the day, distinguished guests included representatives of the Queen in the Deputy Lord Lieutenant who kindly opening the building. Representatives of the Duchy of Cornwall, the Lord Mayor and several other local dignitaries.
Supporters included representatives from our key partner, Plymouth University as well as other important supporters such as Serco, the local Round Table, Palladium Building Supplies and more.
Also attending were representatives of the local emergency services with whom we work so closely, and a pilot from the disbanding 22 Squadron RAF Search and Rescue who have provided helicopter evacuations on so many life-saving rescues.
We were also pleased to welcome Plymouth Herald and the BBC who cam to report the occasion.
Many team members, and our 2 search dogs also attended. Without their efforts, with support of the local partners and supporters, the local emegency services and indeed the support of the local community, this auspicious development woud never have come to fruition.
We thank all involved for making the day such a great success, launching the new rescue centre in such a way. Work on completing the rescue centre is ongoing. Find out more on this project here.
Gallery of pictures from the opening of the Rescue Centre
Tuesday 15 September 2015 | Press release issued by DSRTP partner, Plymouth University
NOTE – these guide books are now available to purchase directly from this website. Please follow this link.
Walkers and tourists will have the perfect guide to exploring in and around Plymouth thanks to a new book written by Plymouth University students, in collaboration with Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth (DSRTP).
Moor to Sea without the Car: Walks from Plymouth using Public Transport goes on sale 21 September and details 11 walks in and around the city, alongside maps, illustrations and travel instructions on how to enjoy the Devon and Cornwall landscapes without having to drive.
The walks take in picturesque locations such as Mount Edgecumbe, Cawsand, Calstock, Plym Valley, Princetown, Looe and Ivybridge, and all accompanying information was researched and completed by Plymouth students from Illustration, 3D Design, English, Marketing and Business Management, along with a technician from the School of Geography. The walks were devised by DSRTP member Ken Ringwood, who called it a ‘lifelong dream’ to see the book published.
As a member of the University’s community partnership scheme, DSRTP approached the institution about producing the A5 book last year, with a team of Business Management students devising the initial marketing strategy. Now, after months of hard work from the student working group and sponsorship from Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership, the finished publication is ready to go on sale – with all funds raised going towards the DSRTP’s continued rescue operations.
Professor Iain Stewart, Director of Plymouth University’s Sustainable Earth Institute and patron of DSRTP, wrote the book’s foreword and is keen to highlight its rare value.
He said: “Many of those of us who live, work and play in this corner of the South West are all too aware of what a fantastic natural playground we have on our doorstep. For those devotees, this book is a glorious reminder of the wonderful diversity of landscape and life that lies between our ancient granite high lands and our ever-changing coastal strip.
“Its engaging text and beautiful images will no doubt lure many more to appreciate just what makes our South West backyard so special, but beyond being a celebration of our remarkable countryside, this is a tour guide that helps us enjoy our natural environment without damaging its magnificence.”
Ken Ringwood from DSRTP said: “This is our biggest student project yet and their high standard of work has created the ultimate walking guide for fellow students and staff, giving us another unique way to raise funds and continue our rescue work. With the business management students’ expertise we will continue to promote the book, encouraging more students and the public to enjoy Dartmoor.”
Moor to Sea without the Car: Walks from Plymouth using Public Transport goes on sale on 21 September at all Plymouth University on-campus cafés. The £5 sale price goes to DSRTP, which is run solely by volunteers and works to provide a vital all year round search and rescue service throughout South West Devon, East Cornwall and Dartmoor.
Notes to Editors
For more information about this news release, contact Plymouth University Media & Communications Officer Amy McSweeny on 01752 588004 or email email@example.com
About Plymouth University
We are one of the leading modern universities in the UK, ranked in the top four institutions in the country under the age of 50 by Times Higher Education. Twice awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, we have won numerous awards and accolades in respect of our teaching, research and sustainability, and were the first university in the world to receive the Social Enterprise Mark.
Our 28,000 students, which include those at our partner colleges across the South West, are enrolled on courses from farming to fine art, business to biology, and design to dentistry. And the 12,000 paid internships we provide every year for our students is just one of the many ways that we help them to develop new skills and graduate ready-for-work.
We have invested more than £150 million in our campus over the past seven years and are the first modern university to launch a medical school. And through our £100 million network of support facilities and services, we are growing hundreds of businesses across the region and beyond. To find out how Plymouth is making a difference to its communities, please visit Plymouth University
When we took over the Rescue Centre in November 2013 the building literally was just a shell. An industrial unit at Devonshire Meadows, Roborough, it had never been properly occupied since being built, and was very much a blank canvas.
A lease was negotiated with the owner, and whilst we raised the money to buy the premises, we tried to keep the costs down to an absolute minimum. Over the next 18 months we worked incredibly hard to raise the money, and this has allowed us to start the internal fit-out. The limited budget has however meant that we have had to rely upon the fantastic generosity of our friends and benefactors, coupled with the efforts of our members, to get to the stage where the building is both serviceable and safe. We aim to complete the purchase in the Summer of 2015.
In 2014 we were able to obtain a mezzanine floor, and following some very hard work over Christmas by Damien Miles and his team at Devon & Cornwall Solutions, this has now increased the floor space of the unit by 50%. We have had to fireproof the structure, and the building is now being rewired. A kitchen has been supplied courtesy of Palladium Builders Merchants, and for the first time ever, all of our equipment is safe and dry in one location.
The building is now occupied, although not completed. Below are a number of projects scheduled over the next 12 months, which will further improve the position:
- Training facility: this needs to be carpeted, furnished and equipped.
- Drying Room: essential for our day to day operation.
- Floor painting.
Below is a gallery of images from the arrival of the mezzanine into an empty building, through to its current state, fireproofed, safe for basic use and storage. A fine basis for an excellent Rescue Centre, to serve the community in the future.
We continue to need the support of the community to complete this significant development. Please see our fundraising page to see how you can help.
On the weekend of May 10-11 2015 the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Plymouth, as well as all the other rescue teams on the moor, supported the annual Ten Tors event taking place on Dartmoor.
Organised by the military for 55 years, teams of up to 6 young people making up a maximum of 2,400 youths on the moor, undertake endurance challenges hiking 35, 45 or 55 mile routes in 2 days. A significant challenge for anybody!
The event is supported by the military, also volunteer groups like ourselves and ‘Devon and Cornwall 4×4 Response’ who assist our team in access for teams and equipment to remote parts of the moor.
The DSRTP base managed by search managers at Holming Beam is shared with military, 4×4 and Ambulance teams. DSRTP were split into a number of teams, 4 search and rescue teams, a HASTY (light and fast) team and our dog search team. These search teams were based at Princetown School and the bunkhouse at Powder Mills. Our 2 team doctors were also working in dynamic roles, we also had a search manager stationed at the event HQ at Okehampton Camp.
Our role during the event is very similar to our role 24/7/365, whereby we are on standby to assist lost, distressed or injured individuals in any location. Due to the numbers and the adverse conditions experienced we can guarantee our highly trained team, skills and equipment will be in high demand, and we certainly were! Fantastic weather on the Saturday ensured good coverage of military helicopters meaning our teams were working in mainly support roles. Sunday dawned foggy with low cloud heralding numerous callouts at 6am with all teams immediately deployed in support of injured and distressed teams. All morning and into the afternoon was very busy bringing off seriously injured casualties, some with broken bones, others with hypothermia. Others simply lost int he fog, others simply exhausted having given it their all.
By early afternoon our role had adapted to mainly bringing in exhausted teams and helping them retire safely. With close co-ordination with HQ at Okehampton who monitor a tracking system held by each team, there can be high oversight ensuring no person or team is missing. Despite this, by mid-afternoon military helicopters could be seen combing Tor Tops and team routes ensuring there were still no stragglers missing. By late afternoon DSRTP had been stood down.
We believe our involvement in Ten Tors is appreciated by the teams taking part and the military. We certainly know it is appreciated by the numerous teams and individuals we help safely off the moor! These Ten Tors weekends are also very valuable for the team, reinforcing training, tightening up our inter-agency communications and helping strengthen team bonds. These skills and qualities help us throughout the year fulfilling our main purpose, helping locate, and bring to safety missing, or injured loved ones from not only the moor, but any environment in the Plymouth, Dartmoor and Eastern Cornwall areas.
We’re all looking forward to performing the same service at Ten Tors 2016!
Gallery of images from the first day of Ten Tors 2015
Gallery of images from the second day of Ten Tors 2015
More detail on Ten Tors website.
A large contingent of the team have just returned from a week of training and support in the Scottish Highlands, working with a team benefactor willing to donate funds to join the team in training and support of adventure activities. In this way the team not only get valuable training with globally renowned instructors, they also raise much needed funds to purchase the Rescue Centre. They also have a great time working in incredible places in extraordinary winter conditions!
The first part of the Highland training was the support, and training of some of the team in the wild, frigid waters of Wester Ross, essentially in the remote but beautiful area between the Isle of Skye and Inverness. The team were billeted at an incredible Victorian Hunting Lodge all under one roof, a very practical and social arrangement!
Training was led by the excellent Howie Crook, supplemented by internationally acclaimed rafter, kayaker and professional trainer Gez Rowlands.
Conditions during this time were good, with a recent snow melt producing reasonable but not dangerously high flows. All seasons were experienced by the team from rain, hail, sun and snow. Water temperatures hovered around 5c so this was not only a test of skill and endurance, also equipment and team health and welfare.
Fortunately, heated tents were on hand as well as additional winter thermals and neoprene ensuring maximum comfort under the conditions could be maintained.
Some of the DSRTP were qualifying for their SRT qualification, others were taking the course for the first time, already having experience of the Level 2 qualification.
The course content of Swiftwater Rescue Technician qualification is recognised world-wide by national governing bodies of outdoor education, emergency services and other agencies involved with flood and water rescue.
Skills learned and practised include:
- The principles of water rescue
- Rescuer safety
- Water dynamics
- Flood theory
- Medical considerations
- Throw bags
- Swimming in swiftwater
- Tension diagonals
- Shallow water crossing
- Dealing with entrapment
- Weir rescue
- Introduction to ropes and knots for swiftwater
- Tensioning systems and mechanical advantage
- Creating anchors
Day one saw the team set up base camp on the lower reaches of the River Carron on a private estate just north of Strath Carron.
On day 2 the team established a woodland camp amidst the sleet and snow with training taking place within a deep gorge just downstream from the impressive Rogie Falls on the Black Water downstream from Loch Garve.
The final day involved negotiation with the local hydro electric power company who kindly increased the flow on the River Bran by 1.5m enabling a dramatic white water finale including raft rescue techniques.
For the second, mountain elements, the team relocated to a hotel in Fort William where it was hoped the altitude of the surrounding mountains would ensure optimal winter conditions. Training was headed up by the internationally acclaimed guide and mountaineer Andy Cave, supplemented by the amazing skills of his Glencoe based friends and professional guides Tim Neil and Donald King.
Due to raging storms on the day of arrival on the west coast, our plan to be based there was dashed, with the first day of training taking place in the Cairngorms, in particular the north facing Coire Laogh Mor just south east of the Glenmore Forest. Here the team undertook basic skills in moving safely on steep ground with ice axe and crampons, and using various snow belay techniques.
The second day saw conditions on the west coast improve, with the team supporting an incredible traverse of Sgurr Thuilm from Glenfinnan into Gen Pean, building a Tyrolean Traverse for are gorge crossing and support at the Glenpean bothy. With access only possible by boat, a fast RIB got the team in and out along Loch Arkaig.
The final day saw the team supporting an ascent via a tricky ridge of Stob Coire Sgreamhach in Glencoe, with high level tent and logistic support, and final support taking place at the end of the day in Glen Etive. A steep ground stretcher lower exercise was setup, using winter anchor points in snow using ice axes. Additional training was also given to the team in avalanche awareness protocols. The guests on this day were joined by mountaineering legend Leo Houlding who got to spend a bit of time with the team, dishing out some well earned kisses on the cheeks of the blushing female members of the team…!
The week of adventure, training and support was certainly hard work for all involved, but thoroughly enjoyable. The team gained valuable training, experience, camaraderie and fun, as well as most importantly, additional funds to help purchase the new Rescue Centre.
All photography by John Beatty and Roger Hyde
Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team Plymouth are seeking the support of the public in the forthcoming People’s Millions vote due to take place on ITV on Monday November 24th. We are competing against another local worthy cause for £50,000 of National Lottery funds with which we propose purchasing a ‘rescue drone’.
The proposed supplier and trainers traveled down to Dartmoor this week to trail the unit in front of members of the team, senior members of the local Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, representatives from the local Police, and a serving military drone pilot who was observing.
The event, a simulated search exercise, was filmed by the team from ITV West. The footage shot from the TV cameras, and the on-board drone high definition and infra red cameras, will be edited together to form a 90 second promo. This will function as our pitch to the public during broadcast.
We need the support of the public, in order to win this vote and purchase this drone. All attending during the demonstration could clearly see that the drone will help the team in support of the local emergency services simply save lives, more quickly, and effectively.
See below a gallery of images form the day – a wild and stormy day on the Moor. Note the ability of the drone to fly in gusty and wet conditions, offering an incredibly stable aerial visual platform to locate missing, injured, or vulnerable people in need of urgent assistance.
See this page for more on the ‘rescue drone’ project. We hope for your support on Monday November 24th.
As well as raising the funds to purchase the property, we also have been fundraising to transform the empty interior into a functional and practical space. Not only does team kit and vehicles need safely storing, we also imagined a space with a mezzanine that could be used for team training, but also crucially, to help with community engagement.
See the video below prepared by one of the team members visualising how this new space will look:
We applied to the Lloyds Bank Community Fund for up to a £3,000 grant for the ‘community engagement mezzanine area’ in a competition with 3 other local causes for a sliding scale of funds relating to the local community voting.
It transpired DSRTP gained more than 1/4 of votes – more than 1,400 local people voted for us, we came 2nd meaning we get £2,000 towards the cost of this area. These are very essential funds for the team which will certainly result in greater benefit within the community. Once work is completed in the new year the space will be open for youth groups, community groups, demonstrations and other type engagements. Through these activities we will be able to inspire the young, old and everyone in between to be safer, and better skilled users of the local beautiful wild spaces – making the wider community safer for everyone.
Thanks to all who voted for us in support of this project and congratulations to the winners at the Launceston memory Cafe! If you would like to know more about the Rescue Centre project, check out this page here.
DSRTP are very fortunate to be finalists in the 2014 People’s Millions National Lottery Fund seeking to gain public support for the £50,000 required to purchase a Rescue Drone and train qualified pilots from within its team of local volunteers.
Voting is closed now!
Unfortunately, DSRTP were unsuccessful in their bid to receive the public vote for their ‘rescue Drone’.
Thanks goes to all the members of the public who gave the bid their support.
Our congratulations go to all the local groups who have benefited from this public support.
We will likely seek other grant sources to finance what we believe would be life-saving technology.
ITV Broadcast Promo
WHAT IS A RESCUE DRONE?
Essentially, the rescue Drone will enable us to save lives, more quickly and effectively.
The rescue drone operates like a sophisticated remote controlled helicopter. It has 4 rotors and is operated from a hand-held base station giving the operator who is also a trained drone pilot a live video feed from the drone itself. The whole system is quite small, fitting in a case small enough for 1 person to carry anywhere. Drones such as this are sometimes called a UAV (Unmanned or Unpiloted Aerial Vehicle) or UAS (Unmanned or Unpiloted Aerial System)
See more information and pictures from the Rescue Drone demonstration filmed by ITV in early November.
The drone would be purchased, and training would be provided by the team at Resource Group.
It can fly at heights of up to several hundred feet and has a range of 1 mile, although the law states that the drone has to be in sight whilst being operated. Its dual camera system gives HD video during the day, and the combined FLIR camera gives night vision with its Quark Thermal camera.
More information on the actual drone can be found in the PDF brochure produced by the Danish manufacturer.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE DRONE?
– Portable & Rugged
It is very portable and rugged, the complete system can be carried by one operator into virtually any outside environment and flown in winds up to 20mph.
– Live Video
The 2 cameras on-board enable hi-quality video to be shot during the day and infra red camera enabling night vision seeking warm objects – for example missing persons at night. both video feeds are beamed live to the operator on the ground.
– Swift missing person location
With the ability to carry into any area, and search in difficult conditions day or night, the system allows the team to effectively search a large area very quickly, potentially saving lives. Current searching is only possible either by foot with search teams, or by air via Police or Military helicopters.
Search Manager Jonathan Benzie states: “The use of a drone will significantly enhance our capabilities when searching for missing or vulnerable people. Having a night vision camera is a particular benefit as many of our searches are at night, and currently we are limited to what our search teams can see with torches, a night vision camera greatly increases our field of vision.
The drone also allows us to search dangerous areas like quarries, crag faces and river valleys that may be difficult or dangerous for foot teams to search. Furthermore, we often require the services of a Police Helicopter or a military Search and Rescue Helicopter to search areas, the drone can provide similar capabilities, and therefore we can reduce the cost to the taxpayer by using the drone instead.
I am convinced that by having the drone as part of our search capability, we can find missing people faster, and then ensure that we bring them back to safety as promptly as possible.“
WHAT IS THE PEOPLE’S MILLIONS LOTTERY FUND?
The People’s Millions is part of the Big Lottery Fund. DSRTP are competing with another local worthy cause during a public vote on prime time ITV West Country West on Monday November 24th. During this time a 90 second promo video filmed by ITV highlighting our cause will be shown and the public can then vote by telephone for the cause they see as most worthy. The good cause with most votes is announced the following evening with that cause receiving the full amount requested.
See our project page at the People’s Millions website.
HOW CAN I VOTE?
To support the Rescue Drone project vote by phone. There are 2 options when you call, select option 2.
The numbers to call are: Landline: 09015228209 | Mobile 6228209 Selectoption 2 for the life-saving ‘Rescue Drone’ project.
Each call costs 15p from BT landline or mobile. Each phone can register up to 10 votes. So for an effective team donation of £1.50 per phone, please call 10 times from each phone.
This project is getting well deserved attention in local press, see links below:
One of our team volunteers, Simon, is also an architect. He has used his skills and some design software to mockup a video of the proposed design of the interior of the new Rescue Centre.
The video shows the area for the rescue vehicles, the mezzanine floor which will be used for training and community engagement, and plenty storage areas for team kit. We are currently fundraising £150,000 to purchase the Rescue Centre – learn more about this project here.
We are also fundraising with the Lloyds bank Community Fund to help pay for the mezzanine / community engagement area. This fund is determined by a public vote – it takes very little time to vote and it is free!
There is still time to vote! Check here on how to do this before the 10th of October!
The fudraising team recently applied for funding to the Lloyds Bank Community Fund in order to access a grant enabling the construction of the community engagement mezzanine area in our new rescue centre.
The fund gives the team the chance to obtain at least £500 and up to £3,000 towards the costs of the mezzanine area in the new rescue centre.
The amount we receive depends on how many votes we can get – we are ‘up against’ 3 other local good causes, the Marjon Hockey Club, Launceston Memory Cafe and Wings South West. The group with least votes gets £500, then £1,000, £2,000 then the group with most votes gets the £3,000.
If we can mobilise enough of our supporters we should easily obtain many votes giving us a good chance of obtaining these essential funds.
Voting is simple and quick, and can be done in one of 4 ways. Online, via Twitter, Via SMS and in participating branches.
TO VOTE ONLINE
Visit this url and click on the “Vote for Us” box at the top of the page:https://communityfund.
– Complete the details and click “submit” – you will be sent an email from the Lloyds Bank Community Fund to confirm your vote.
– Please click on the link in the email to confirm your vote, otherwise it won’t count.
TO VOTE VIA TWITTER
Click on the “Vote for Us” box at the top of the web page:https://communityfund.
– Click the “Vote via Tweet” button to auto populate a tweet with our unique hashtag (you may need to login, or create an account if you don’t have one).
– You can then retweet your message to give us a vote.
TO VOTE VIA SMS
Text VOTE PVL to 61119.
TO VOTE IN A PARTICIPATING BRANCH
Visit one of the branches below and collect a voting token from a member of staff. Barnstaple, Bideford, Camelford, Chagford, Crediton, Holsworthy, Launceston, Moretonhampstead, Okehampton, Plymouth Southway, Torrington
Please participate in this effort, its potentially £3,000 to the team – please share with your family and friends during this month, September 2014.
Thanks very much in advance for your support!