Volunteers searching for missing people in Northamptonshire will have more tools at their disposal after the launch of two new rescue vehicles.
The vehicles, an ICU (incident control unit) and OSU (operational support unit), were launched yesterday by Northamptonshire Search and Rescue (NSAR) and will make accessing remote areas even easier.
They will help search for missing and vulnerable people across the county and carry team members and life-saving equipment, helping to save lives and reunite families.
An NSAR spokesman said: “We are so happy to finally be launching these new vehicles. We know they have been designed to be cutting edge, and take the team's search and rescue capabilities to the next level.
"We also know this could not have been done without the incredible support of the community we live in.
"The people and businesses of Northamptonshire have been amazing at every turn they have helped.
“It’s clear they value the team and what we do and we can only thanks them from the bottom of our hearts for that. We will continue coming out whenever we are called to look for those lost, missing or in distress.”
The ICU is named "Brenda" after a long-term supporter’s late mother. The vehicle offers mobile operation command for missing person searches and other incidents. On-board it has two PCs, mobile 4G wifi, GPS-enabled tracking of team members and assets, full UK digital mapping and printing facilities offering three 21in monitors and a 38in command screen. It also offers a seated command position of police and fire officers with connections for their equipment and is future-proofed ready for drone downlinks and next generation equipment.
“Poppy” is the OSU and is a 4x4 capable vehicle, able to transport five team members and all their equipment to any location in the county. On-board it also carries access and rescue equipment, medical resources, and collapsible stretchers. Based on a Toyota Hilux this will serve in all locations and conditions with life-saving reliability. Her name is in memory of all those lost in wars and conflict before, one of the original purposes of search and rescue teams.
The NSAR team is staffed entirely by volunteers and funded by donations and provides support to the police, fire and local resilience groups.
The total cost of these projects was more than £80,000 and was made possible after grants, donations and almost two years of fundraising from the team and their supporters.
Northamptonshire Police's Chief Constable Nick Adderley said: “Our relationship with Northamptonshire Search and Rescue is one I place great importance on and I’m really pleased to support the launch of these two new vehicles.
“Knowing that Northamptonshire Police can call on the expert skills of search and rescue volunteers when needed provides invaluable support to the force, and helps us to do all we can to keep people in our county safe.
“A lot of hard work and dedication went into the fundraising for these new vehicles and I congratulate everyone at the charity on their launch.
"I have no doubt that they will prove to be excellent additions to the search and rescue fleet and will be put to the very best use helping those who find themselves in need.”
The vehicles will be securely stored in Northampton and Wellingborough.
The NSAR team thanked everyone who made the projects possible.
Their spokesman added: “We know we can’t name everybody, and we wish we could, but we want to pay a special thanks to Alex Freegard who championed the securing of a £25,000 grant for the project.
"This was done in memory of a missing person and in honour of this the team has included a blue butterfly on the roof.”