Coastguard Rescue Team in appeal for volunteers

Coastguard Rescue Officers at Whitburn Coastal Park during a recent familiarisation exercise with one of HM Coastguards new helicopters.

Coastguard Rescue Officers at Whitburn Coastal Park during a recent familiarisation exercise with one of HM Coastguards new helicopters.

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Volunteers are wanted to strengthen the Sunderland Coastguard Rescue Team.

The team, based in Charles Street, Monkwearmouth, forms part of the 3,500-strong Coastguard Rescue Service, whose 360 teams provide a 24/7 emergency response to search and rescue incidents around the UK coastline.

Prospective recruits must be aged 18 or over and will undergo medical screening and be subject to Disclosure and Barring Service checks.

Adam Turner, Senior Coastal Operations Officer, said: “The demanding nature of some duties performed by a Coastguard Rescue Officer (CRO) requires a reasonable standard of health and fitness, although pre-existing medical conditions do not necessarily exclude membership. Dealing with occasional traumatic incidents can also have an emotional impact.”

After progressing through various stages of training in rope rescue techniques, trainee CROs can expect to qualify as rope rescue technicians. They will also learn other skills leading to proficiency in a range of competencies, such as search techniques, water rescue, first aid, off-road and emergency 4x4 driving, radio communications and helicopter operations.

Working closely with other emergency services and maritime search and rescue resources, teams can be called out to a variety of incidents, including cliff rescues, vulnerable person searches, people stranded by the tide or at risk of drowning, small craft in difficulties and found explosive ordnance.

Adam said: “We expect a high level of commitment from all our team members, both in terms of regular attendance at training sessions and response to incidents.

“Coastguard rescue teams are on-call on a 24-hours basis, which means making sacrifices in their personal lives. We also encourage employers to allow CROs to leave the workplace to attend incidents, when necessary.

“They should live within reasonable travelling distance from the coast or their local Coastguard station, with own transport being essential.”

The Coastguard Rescue Service also plays a key role in preventing loss of life at sea by providing safety talks to youngsters and community groups and undertaking coastal patrols.

Anyone interested in joining, should e-mail area5@mcga.gov.uk for more information.