Search and rescue training carried as part of the ongoing Overseas Territories Search and Rescue (OTSAR) programme has helped make a difference to operational searches on St Helena.
Alan Thomas, Brigade Manager of St Helena Fire and Rescue Service says although they already had search capability, the expertise shared through the programme at a recent workshop organised through OTSAR, has given his team an extra edge.
He said: ‘We’re very grateful to the team at OTSAR for developing and enhancing our search and rescue skills. We’ve already felt the benefit of that in two recent searches where we had successful outcomes for both. The new techniques meant we were able to create a search cell at the police station and the searches took less time than they might otherwise have done before the training.’
Philipp Bostock of HM Coastguard said: ‘The OTSAR project which is funded by the UK Government through the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, is about sharing skills right across the whole search and rescue family. We’ve all worked hard both the trainers and those being trained to maintain and improve capability right across the Overseas Territories and this report from St Helena shows the difference being made.’
Paul Duffy, from HM Coastguard who is currently seconded to the Police National Search Centre, College of Policing said: ‘This project undoubtedly benefits from the way we’ve been able to share skills across professional search and rescue services. The support that HM Coastguard and the Police National Search Centre offers to places like St Helena is showing results that benefit all.’