Flood rescues spurred Northants Search and Rescue team to raise £50k for new vehicle

The custom-made tactical rescue vehicle will be ready by 2022

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 7:59 am
NSAR members on the scene of Christmas Eve flooding last year

A specialist team of volunteers that carries out dozens of rescues across Northamptonshire each year has raised £50,000 in just four months to buy a new support vehicle.

Northants Search and Rescue members have secured funding for a new custom-made technical rescue vehicle which they say will extend their wide-reaching capabilities.

Last year’s devastating floods in county spurred the team to accelerate its plans for a new vehicle.

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The new vehicle, which will be able to transport a patient on a stretcher

With the team’s swift water rescue team and bank-side trained members spending several days last year helping trapped and beleaguered residents, it bolstered their commitment to raising enough cash for the new vehicle, which had been placed on hold due to the Covid19 impact on fundraising.

Based on a 2021 Mercedes Sprinter All Wheel Drive, the van has been modified to carry four passengers and a driver, to provide onboard 240v power, and to carry swift water and technical rescue equipment. It will also be able to transport patients on a stretcher.

The group managed to obtain grants including £20,000 from the Peoples Postcode Lottery, £15,000 from the David Laing Foundation, £8,727 from the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, £7,270 from the National Lottery and £1000 from the Maud Elkinton Trust, providing a total of £51,542.

Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles also provided a significant discount on their latest premium model.

An NSAR spokesman said: “During this current year the team has found itself called upon more and more to support water incidents.

“These included a dog walker who was late returning from a riverside walk, and sadly located deceased in the water, supporting our sister teams in Warwickshire with a canal search, and most notably in rescuing four people from the River Nene whose canoe had overturned.

“As a result of this the team has invested more into its technical rescue equipment, with additional PPE, throw lines and reach poles.

“And over the coming winter we’ll be training with Rescue3 so that several more volunteers will be Swiftwater rescue qualified.

“This new vehicle will allow them to get closer to the water edge, with the right equipment, and in a timely manner, which are all vital to help save lives when every second counts.

“Covid19 has been a huge impact on us from a funding perspective, but we never lost sight of the need for this new technical rescue vehicle.

“We have seen the devastating speed with which water can impact lives and how rapid actions can help save, property and lives.

“We also wanted to make sure this brand-new vehicle will be fit for purpose and built to last. We must be sure of reliability and durability, hence choosing this Mercedes and the fit-out we have.

“We also want to thank all the supporters and trusts who have backed us, recognising the positive impact we have been able to bring to the community we come from and serve.”

Northamptonshire Search & Rescue (NSAR) was formed in 2013 to provide professional volunteer search and rescue support to the local emergency services. The team operates under the governance of Lowland Rescue, the less well-known sister to Mountain Rescue.

Their volunteers who are on call 24hrs a day, 365 days a year to support the police in the search for missing and vulnerable people including children and dementia patients.