History of the Team
The Dartmoor Rescue Group was started in 1968 in the Tavistock area when a small group of local moorland enthusiasts started helping the police with search and rescue on Dartmoor. In due course a recognised official team was formed.
Currently the Group consists of four teams each one capable of functioning independently, plus the main “Original charity” which co-ordinates common training, equipment and communications issues plus it is the main contact point for organisations. Normally two teams respond to callouts leaving two as a back up in case of an extended operation.
The “Dartmoor Rescue Group” is comprised of five charities. The main “Original” DARTMOOR RESCUE GROUP Charity No 286680, plus the four teams:-
- DSRT (Ashburton) – Charity No 1106098,
- DSRT (Okehampton) – Charity No1106096,
- DSRT (Tavistock) – Charity No 1106094,
- And of course ourselves DSRT (Plymouth) Charity No: 1106095
Mountain Rescue History
The team, like all other Mountain Rescue teams in the UK survives solely on fundraising events run by the members and on public donations. Sometimes organisations “adopt” a team for Fund raising over a period of time and we are most grateful for their support.
All team members provide much of their own personal equipment. The larger items such as vehicles, stretchers and team clothing are purchased with team funds sometimes with the assistance of Mountain Rescue England & Wales which is our national organisation.
The team works in conjunction with the Police, and all callouts are requested by them and they assess their need for assistance and, where necessary, contact the appropriate DSRT Search Manager by telephone, text or pager. Currently each of the teams has between 40-50 members. No duty roster exists but all members, if available, respond at any time of the day or night to take part in search and rescue operations.
A search team will generally consist of up to eight people with a Search Team Leader and individuals nominated as Radio Operator, Navigator and First Aider, although all members are trained to undertake any task in a rescue operation. Several teams will normally be deployed at each callout.
The team also attend and assists with some of the annual events that take place on Dartmoor e.g. Ten Tors, the Midnight Madness Walk, the Oats Walk and the Abbots Way Walk. In addition talks, demonstrations and training courses are arranged to inform and educate the public of all ages in the techniques of hill survival and safety. Some DSRTP team members also belong to SARDA (Search And Rescue Dogs Association) and provide search dogs to work on call outs.
The DSRTP and all teams are affiliated to PenMaCRA (Peninsula Mountain and Cave Rescue Association) and to Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
Our role has shifted over the last few years in that while rescues on the moors become fewer, more searches are undertaken in rural areas. Statistics show a widely fluctuating demand for our services over the years.