IW Foundation key to new WightSAR control vehicle

Posted on: August 15, 2023 at 1:34 pm

A new incident control vehicle has joined the Island’s WightSAR search and rescue team.

The new vehicle has been commissioned following a £16,000 grant from the Isle of Wight Foundation, the charitable body made up of the partners behind Island Roads. Earlier donations from Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (£20,000) and the National Lottery (£10,000) also supported the project.

The incident control vehicle will be the new central hub of WightSAR’s search operations.  It acts as a mobile office, communication centre with a 12-metre radio mast and casualty equipment store.

Dean Terrett, WightSAR founder and chairman said: “The new vehicle will provide a much-needed new base allowing our Search Planner to work with police to coordinate the search, using sophisticated mapping and research-based tools to find the missing person as quickly as possible.

“The improved communication capability also allows vital information to be relayed immediately to search teams on the ground and ensures search team safety. Then, when a missing person is located, information can be relayed to the vehicle from the scene, ensuring the most appropriate response for the casualty.”

Dean said the vehicle, the organisation’s first purpose-built incident control vehicle, would also give increased reliability and longevity, reducing the risk of breakdown and expensive repairs.

He said achieving such an ambitious fundraising project had been a real team effort, involving many supporters and volunteers as well as local businesses. The new vehicle’s livery was undertaken by Indigo Graphics in Newport to Lowland Rescue standard and the specially-modified interior built by Northstar Conversions in Cowes. The local Tesco Extra and Asda Community Champions had also provided invaluable support along with WighSAR volunteers.

“The support from across the community has been amazing,” Dean said.

The IW Foundation, comprising Ringway Island Roads, Vinci Concessions, Meridiam and Island Roads Services, has previously donated funds to WightSAR to purchase rescue equipment and was pleased to have been able to do so again.

IW Foundation co-ordinator Samantha O’Rourke said: “Everyone at Island Roads is impressed by the service provided by WightSAR’s highly-dedicated team. We are thrilled to be part of what was a real community effort to provide them with the new vehicle and equipment that will make their search and rescue team even more effective.”

WightSAR took control of their new vehicle on Friday August 11 at the end of a week that has seen them involved in three search and rescue operations.

For more information about WightSar, please visit https://www.wightsar.org/