The Volunteer Life Brigade has been providing a coastal search and rescue service along South Tyneside' s cliffs, beaches and riverside for over 156 years, and since its inception has always worked under the auspices of HM Coastguard.
Team members will be on hand to demonstrate specialist ascent and descent climbing equipment, helmets, harnesses, stretchers, lifting frames, modern ropes, rescue winch, lighting equipment, searchlights and night vision aids, protective clothing and safety equipment, first aid equipment and modern radio and telecommunications equipment.
Today’s members respond to paging via mobile phones and talk direct by radio to HM Coastguard, lifeboats, helicopters and other emergency services. Members are trained in rope rescue and search techniques, water rescue, first aid, and radio communications. They are called out from home, office, factory at all times of the night and day, whatever the weather to go the assistance of those missing or in danger on or around the coast.
On average the Brigade is called out about 120 times a year. Last year saw record 131 callouts and so far, this year the Brigade has responded to seven emergency callouts.
Over the past 50 years the Brigade has raised funds for all kinds of equipment as well as a succession of Land Rover vehicles to provide a mobile search and rescue facility. The Brigade has a specially-built Land Rover fully fitted with an array of special equipment and systems to respond to call-outs by HM Coastguard.
The motto of the SSVLB is "Always Ready" and the Brigade maintains an operational team on 24-hour standby to respond any emergency. All its members are unpaid volunteers.
Anyone who may wish to help with the Brigade’s JustGiving appeal can go to: https://www.justgiving.com/southshieldsvolunteerlifebrigadeuk
Anyone wanting to find out more about what it takes to join a small team volunteers trained in all aspects of search and rescue is invited to come along to the Watch House South Pier on Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm.
Posting the recruitment day on its Facebook page, SSVLB said: “This is a great opportunity to make a difference and learn new skills. Come along and meet the team who will be available to demonstrate our equipment and show you around the station.”