Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Ashburton) have launched an urgent appeal to raise funds for a replacement control vehicle.
The team, specialist volunteers who provide 24 hour emergency cover 365 days of the year, need to replace their van after just managing to get it through its last MoT.
A spokesperson has said that due to a major rust problem, there’s no option other than to find a new one and get it kitted out with specialist radio and computer equipment in time for the autumn.
The team’s Vehicle Officer Andy Luscombe has said that they either need help raising the £15,000 that a suitable van was likely to cost or for a generous benefactor to come forward and donate one.
‘The vehicle we have is a long wheel base high top variety and we’re looking to replace with something similar, a Mercedes Sprinter is the most likely candidate,’ he said.
‘If possible a 4×2, four wheels on the rear axle and two front, as this gives much more stability when on the road with the vehicle close to its weight limit.
‘It’s a self contained control centre with two computers, radio and telephone communications. The computers aid our searches by being able to pick up GPS radios and therefore tracking teams, they are also programmed with a host of invaluable search and rescue software.
‘The van will have a separate kit store for individual team bags together with emergency medical equipment including a wheeled stretcher.
‘The team can only be called out by the police or ambulance service and we help with everything from missing dementia patients to people wishing to harm themselves as well as missing walkers, climbing and kayaking accidents and flooding.
‘Members are trained for all eventualities and operate across Devon and beyond when required.
‘The cost of a new control vehicle including fitting it out with our specialist equipment is likely to be around £20,000 so we, and the many people we help each year, would be very grateful for any help people can offer.’
A just giving donation page has been set up. So far £2575 has been raised. To donate, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/displayCharityCampaignPage.action?charityCampaignUrl=dart02
To contact the group call 07779 320892 or email firstname.lastname@example.org