What do you do in your day job?
What attracted you to working with LONSAR?
I’m an outdoor activity instructor, before that I was a Primary school teacher.
I wanted to get involved because I also work with the scouts and Duke of Edinburgh awards so was aware of mountain rescue. A colleague told me about LONSAR - not only is it local to me, but helping vulnerable populations was important to me. Treat others as you wish to be treated – I’d want someone to come look for me or my family.
Victoria - Search Technician
Can you tell us about a search that you took part in that stands out in your memory?
It was hammering it down with rain at night in winter. I arrived at the RV and was sent off with a foot team as the navigator. It was very dark, and we missed a turn in the path so were doubling back. We came across a lady walking a dog, the dog started barking, so I stopped to let her pass. The lady asked what we were doing, and she told us that she had seen someone matching the description in an area that was outside the search area. The lady took us back to where she has last seen her, but the missing person (misper) had gone.
I was sheltering under a tree trying to get my phone to work when one of our crew saw the misper and made contact. The misper had been out all night and had come with a blanket, she kept trying to leave and was quite distressed. We take off uniform so as not to be too intimidating and everyone stood back to allow one of our team and a policewoman to calm and look after her.
The reason it sticks in my mind is that the whole thing took only an hour – if we hadn’t missed the path or met the witness then we wouldn’t have found her. It felt like a text-book training exercise.
What’s the most challenging part of being a search technician?
I’m not great at waiting, so being on standby is frustrating. I really want to get out there and get involved and help as soon as possible.
And the best part?
Community – the team. It’s the knowledge that you are out with people that have a similar mindset. No matter what they do in their day job, you know they have the same motivation to get up and help, no matter the time and the weather. Whether we successfully find someone, or just offer closure for the family, I feel like we are making a difference.
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