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Rescuers share search expertise

Teaching a search skills course to volunteers in Ireland.
Teaching a search skills course to volunteers in Ireland.

Two experts are speaking at Iceland’s Search and Rescue conference this week about internationally transferable ideas they have developed in Northumberland.

The pair, Pete Roberts and Carl Hamilton, are long-standing members of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT).

Carl Hamilton

Carl Hamilton

Pete will be speaking about how a Mountain Rescue team responds to a call for help from the police in what they call the initial response – this is a crucial time and it is important to get things right during this phase when an urgent and speedy response is called for.

Carl will be speaking about techniques and tactics for searching at night – about 60 per cent of all calls to Mountain Rescue come between the hours of 4pm and 10pm so night-searching skills are essential for a speedy response.

They will also be teaching a day’s course on how, in the UK, they manage an incident using a generic problem-solving process they have developed in Northumberland – this will be delivered to members of Icelandic Search and Rescue Teams as part of their ongoing training.

Pete and Carl are both former team leaders of NNPMRT and have extensive experience and expertise developed over a long period of team membership – Pete has been a member for more than 40 years and Carl for 30-plus years.

Pete Roberts

Pete Roberts

They were both involved in the major search operations following the Lockerbie air disaster and have attended countless call-outs to help missing and injured people.

In 1997, they formed The Centre for Search Research (TCSR) as a registered charity to allow them to continue to research into aspects of search and rescue.

The work Pete and Carl do for TCSR, and as members of NNPMRT, is entirely voluntary. Their published research on search and rescue is freely available via the TCSR website – www.searchresearch.org.uk
Pete and Carl have spoken at many conferences around the world, including the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and now Iceland. In December, they will travel to Poland to speak to groups there about their work.

NNPMRT provides a search and rescue service in the Northumbria Police area; the operational area covers 2,159 square miles and includes the whole of Northumberland and the conurbation of Tyne & Wear.

Team members, who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, are volunteers and NNPMRT is solely reliant on voluntary donations and grants from charitable trusts.