Third training session today and we are starting to learn about all the equipment we use, how to get it out of the van, the initial actions when we arrive at a search, how to set up the base of operations and as importantly, putting it back in the right place afterwards.  When time is of the essence at the start of a search, the last thing you want is to open the radio case, to discover someone has put the rich tea biscuits in there.  Everything has a place.  

Lots of time putting tents, masts and generators up and then breaking them all down again. Luckily there is a pictorial idiots guide as to where everything goes and, as today’s idiot, I find it very useful to make sure I don’t get the radios and the rich tea biscuits confused.  I take a couple of pictures of the van interior so I can do some homework!

WILSAR Equipment VanEquipment VanAdditionally we’re all learning how to lift and move heavy items, whether that is a missing person (presumably at the point they become a found person), the generator or a tea urn!  A lot of the team have done this manual handling training before but it’s all new to me.  However, lots of opportunity to practice and lots of support in the team from those that have done it before.

WILSAR team bagTeam bag - every search team carries oneThere is a lot of essential equipment and some obviously well oiled processes to ensure that the teams are set up and ready to search quickly.  A lot to learn but making all this second nature to me reduces the time before we can start searching - and if someone with dementia has wandered out of their home in the dead of winter just wearing their pyjamas, every second really does count.