Can you help Northants Search and Rescue team locate face masks for police work?

The group need a small number of masks in case their special search skills are called on by police

Members of a volunteer-run search and rescue charity, who provide a 24/7 callout service to Northamptonshire Police, have appealed for help to track down face masks for them to use for emergency missions.

Northamptonshire Search and Rescue (NSAR) members assist the police to locate missing people across the county but regular call outs have stopped during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The 48 active personnel have become part of the offcial community response working through official channels to support deliveries to vulnerable people but remain on call to help search operations.

Neil Balderson

Neil Balderson, 39, search manager for NSAR who lives in Wollaston, said: " We have been helping with deliveries for vulnerable people across the county.

"Although we haven't been called out to a search and rescue yet, we have been told that any person that we come into contact on a search could have Covid-19.

"That's why we need a small number of face masks, preferably ffp3 standard, so we can carry out any search or rescue safely."

Neil does not want any masks to be diverted to their group from frontline NHS and care home staff but would like his members to have a small number of masks to use in emergencies.

Welfare checks

He said: "We probably only need a small stock of a dozen because we need to protect ourselves, but we do not want to take them away from the NHS.

"If they can't be ffp3 then any type of face mask would be great. Any help to reduce the risk of infection would be welcomed ."

Neil and his NSAR colleagues have been delivering groceries, medicines and other essential supplies to homes. The members made 134 food parcel drop-offs last week and knocked on 64 homes to make welfare checks.

The charity volunteers, who have been vetted by the police, have been unable to fundraise as they would normally due to the coronavirus lockdown and they have seen a 70 per cent drop in income.

Northants Search and Rescue group members

Much of their income comes from attending large county events to provide first aid cover.

Neil added: "We are doing everything for free. All of us want to feel we're doing more, but by going out you're potentially at risk.

"We're being well received and people have been very grateful. We're happy to volunteer and help. That's why we do it."

To donate masks to Northants Search and Rescue please contact the group via their Facebook page.

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