How it all began
A tragedy in southwest Cornwall gave rise to what is currently one of the fastest growing members of the UK Search and Rescue (SAR) organisation.
Today’s guest blog comes from Phil Bridges, Senior GI Developer here at Ordnance Survey and Alison Chestnutt, Hampshire Search and Rescue Membership Secretary.
There are Lowland Search and Rescue teams in over 30 counties, however you’ll rarely see them mentioned in the media. The reasons you have probably never heard of them are varied; sometimes because of the sensitive and personal reasons that may dictate why a person has been reported missing; sometimes because media attention may hamper searches where vital clues need to be preserved and sometimes because the people that form the teams are the sort of people who are happy to give up their spare time for free to put something back into society and don’t seek recognition for their efforts.
Mainland Britain is home to some 94 mountains – which in this example are those that have been identified having a relative height of 600 metres or more. When taking into account the smaller Marilyns (which have a relative height of at least 150 metres), the total grows to a staggering 1,551.
All this makes for a huge area for Brits to get out and explore. There’s the attraction of taking in some breathtaking views from the summit, not to mention the practice of so-called ‘munro bagging’, where avid climbers tick off mountains they’ve scaled in a bid to cover them all.
When someone goes missing, many people and organisations get involved in the search and thanks to the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), Ordnance Survey data is included in the tools the search agencies have at their disposal.
Lowland Search dogs (LSdogs) is a non-profit, voluntary organisation founded in 2002. It overseas the standards and testing for dogs used to search for missing persons in lowland areas of the UK and assists the police and other agencies involved in search and rescue operations. A dog can search an area of 50 – 80 acres with a high probability of detecting the whereabouts of the missing person within an hour to an hour and a half, so they can be a vital and useful member of any search team.