When it is raining in a torrential downpour, a hurricane is expected or a snowstorm is approaching, people in the English county of Staffordshire prefer to remain at home. Yet for the voluntary team of the Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team (SSART), their work does not truly start until this weather arrives: People have to be evacuated out of areas threatened by floods; Drivers get stuck with their vehicles in the snow and cannot free themselves; An athlete has been missing for hours and may have been struck by a falling tree while jogging through the forest… Although the callouts vary – they all have one thing in common: People are in trouble and need assistance as quickly as possible.
The Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team handles many of these emergencies, supporting the police and the state emergency services with crisis management. Mark Walker is the chairman of the association. “Our team consists of a total of 74 voluntary helpers who are on-call around the clock to find missing people and provide first aid. Our rescue team does everything it can to save human lives! Our regular training sessions keep everyone in our team perfectly prepared for critical situations. This is essential because anyone who wants to save lives can join us!” explains Mark Walker.
When SSART receives a callout, it is not just Mark Walker and his team who are immediately ready to roll. The rescue service usually uses two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4. “Our Sprinters are absolutely essential. They serve as our mobile command centers, enabling us to optimally coordinate the deployments on site. They provide us with a complete power supply, are equipped with computers, printers, radios and many other important on-board instruments. The weather-proof awning enables us to relocate our working area outside even in poor weather. The all-wheel drive system is also an advantage because we have to drive through snow and ice to help people who have been snowed in”, explains Mark Walker. “It is an indescribable feeling to help people during your free time and even save lives. Alongside my main job in the aerospace field, I enjoy this meaningful voluntary work.” Mark Walker is certain that the Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team will continue to grow in the future and will acquire new team members. Because in emergencies there is one thing you always need: Qualified and dedicated helpers!