Ten Tors  
– 14/15 May 2011
DSRT Tavistock deployed to Amicombe Hill at the head of Tavy
Cleave to offer emergency search and rescue cover for the 51st
Annual Ten Tors event.

An advanced party went up on Friday morning  to prepare the
campsite and receive an airlift of essential equipment from a
Royal Navy Sea King.

As the rest of the team arrived during the Friday, our camp
site, including two medical tents was put in place.

The weather for the event was near perfect, being mainly
overcast, clear views, and a cool breeze. These conditions meant
it was generally a quiet event this year for the team.

All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable weekend for
all those who took part.

The Team at Amicombe Hill

Loading up the helicopter at the end of Ten Tors

Scene of Crime Training 
– 04 May 2011
The team undertook some Scene of crime training at Foggin Tor Quarry this week.

Starting from Four Winds car park we were given information that someone had
heard shouting from that general area.

Search teams were deployed soon found a semi conscious man floating in the lake
in the quarry. Whilst removing him from the water, it was discovered that the
climbing rope that he was attached to had been cut. 

A crime scene was set up. Whilst the casualty’s welfare is still number one
priority, the team still needed to take care to preserve the scene so as not to
destroy potential evidence.

Meanwhile a second injured person was discovered further into the quarry, he
had fallen while abseiling and injured himself.  

Between helping the injured man, evacuating the first casualty from the water,
and trying to preserve the crime scene, the team were stretched to the limit.

All in all it was a very educational exercise and much was learnt.

Team members positioning the spinal board to get the casualty
out of the lake

Casualty safely on the board ready to be lifted out

Drake Vets Fundraiser 
– 25 March 2011

The team would like to thank all the staff of customers of Drake Vets in
Yelverton for their generous donation of £425.

Last weekend Drake Vets held an open day at their new practice in Yelverton and
invited the team to set up a display and raise funds. 

The veterinary surgery also sold cakes, drinks and other bits and pieces to
raise money as well as holding a raffle. 

On the day they raised £850 which was split between DSRT Tavistock and The Margaret
Green Animal Rescue Centre. 

The team also collected an additional £30 in donations.

  Drake vets presenting  a cheque to
Catherine Jones of DSRT Tavistock

Helicopter Training  by Mark
Griffiths 5th
March 2011
RAF Chivenor, It had been a long time since I was last here, and now it was RMB Chivenor in fact i was possibly 16 years old and flew chipmunk training aircraft and even back then I remember there was a search and rescue helicopter perched on the tarmac, poised and ready to help those in need.

Today was to be different, today we were to be shown the necessary safety procedures
and winching drills needed to assist with any helicopter related rescues on or around the moor.

Sat in 22 Sqdr’s operations room we were met by a warm flight crew and handed mugs of tea which I promptly kicked over the floor to show my appreciation. shamed and
embarrassed we met others from teams around the moors. We were then shown a short safety film which wished us well and informed us of the safety drills in the event of a crash, reassuring.

Soon we were shown around the Sea King helicopter and instructed how the winchman would show us what when and where, we were soon in the air with lots of grinning faces as we took off and headed for Braunton Burrows. We were deposited in a remote, windswept hollow in the dunes and the yellow helicopter flew off out of sight. It was a long walk back if they had a real life call out someone muttered as we waited for its return……waited……..then from over the dunes and coming at us head on was the helicopter as a flood of relief, it really was along walk back.

Back on board and heading back to the air base we were soon to learn the intimate comforts of a winch strap and get closer than I ever though I would with another man as we were tandem winched/ lowered to the ground and practiced using the gear hooks and winch recall before it was all over and time to go home. It was a great insight into the workings of how we work with air sea rescue and how to ensure a swift and hassle free rescue when utilising 22 Sqdrn. 

  Team Members being Winched

The View from Inside

Swift Water Training by Mark Griffiths – February 2011
The river looked benign enough, a few bubbly rapids hiding several submerged rocks. Nothing too dramatic I thought. 
This was the wrong thing to think as later I looked at my bruised shins and hips, oh and left bum cheek.

The day of water training was to be a real eye opener and led me to look at moving water with much more respect than I had before. Coming from a diving past I was used to dealing with undersea currents, pinch points and general deepwater features but hurling myself into the waters of the river Dart gave me food for thought. The day was very well run and safety was paramount, and I did feel at all times like I had the back-up of the training team, I came to realise very quickly that the river could be a harsh mistress.

We were taught and shown examples of defensive swimming and how to maneuver into eddy’s and pools and haul ourselves to safety, then it was our turn to get wet. After many polite “ No after you, I insist” attempts to avoid being first, I was plunged into the cooling waters. The usual gasps of initial shock were had and soon the frantic back stroke and attempts at getting my feet to face downstream were the first things to be done. Soon followed by shouts from the river bank and waving of arms, this was interesting as while the team was close to the river bank you really couldn’t hear a word, they simply resemble the worlds worst mime artists. 

While I was now facing in the right direction and gentle backstroking to slow my trip downstream it was time to head for the safety of the eddy. Looking toward the eddy, deep breath, time it…..and then a good strong crawl up stream. Easy in theory. In practice it was amazing how much effort you have to give even with the help of the river. We had to practice this several times and the distance to travel was less than 20 meters and I was amazed how in such a short distance how tiring it could be just to keep you safe in gentle rapids and low(ish) water levels.

The day also consisted of throw line practice, Group River crossing techniques with practice of these too. All of which were useful to an aspiring trainees and badged members alike.

I would recommend the course to everybody as it really does give you a fantastic experience in the force of water and your own abilities all in a controlled and safe environment.

  Team member throwing a rescue line

Team members hanging onto a rescue boom

Team member experiencing rapids

Team members crossing swift water

Another Dog for DSRT Tavistock 
– January 2011
Congratulations goes to Ian Bertie and Ronnie for battling driving rain and
80mph gusting winds to pass their SARDA stage 3 assessment with flying colours.

The assessment was made up of five 90 minute search areas over difficult
terrain in the Lake District. The dog and handler are expected to search each
of the five areas very carefully finding any bodies hidden within. 

In some of the worst weather conditions known for a SARDA assessment, Ian and
Ronnie cleared and passed all five assessment areas. They now become DSRT
Tavistocks fifth current operational search dog team.

  New Handler Ian Bertie with Ronnie

Team Stalwart Retires 
– October 2010
This month Bud Francis was presented with his Mountain Rescue England & Wales Long Service Award, in recognition of 25 years membership of Tavistock Team. In fact Bud has been on our callout list since 1984! 

He received his award from Terry Bumford, one of our Life Members, who was accompanied by our Chairman, Tim Forster and also Paul Hudson, Controller. 

Also this month Bud announced his retirement from our Team just as he was awarded Life Membership in recognition of his sterling service and commitment to the team, not only operationally but also with fundraising and organising social events over many years.

  Tim Forster, Terry Bumford, Bud Francis
and Paul Hudson

Doggie Update 
– 17 October 2010
Trainee SARDA Dog Handler Ian Bertie and his
Dog Ronnie progressed from Stage 2 training into Stage 3 last
weekend while away on a SARDA training weekend in the Peak

The stage 3 training teaches Ian how to search large areas of
ground with his dog in a systematic way. It also helps increase
the dogs concentration and endurance levels.

Ian and Ronnie are hoping to take their stage 3 assessment in
January in the Lake District although there is still much work
to be done.

  Trainee Handler Ian Bertie with his dog

Joint Agency Exercise 
– 6, 7, 8th August 2010
The annual Dartmoor SARDA training course was a little different
to the usual courses this year. For starters is wasn’t held on
Dartmoor, but on the dunes at Westward Ho’. 

The weekend organised by trainee dog handler and coastguard
James Taylor Short was a great success and comprised of several
multi agency training events.

There were opportunities to train the dogs in a completely
different environment to which they are used to, using the downs
behind the beach. 

There was also an opportunity to work with the RAF Sea King
Helicopter from RMB Chivenor, with all of the dogs and their
handlers getting flown in the helicopter and being winched. This
is an important part of the dogs training as they may one day
need to be flown to a search area.

Three of the teams qualified handlers and one trainee handler
made it to Westward Ho’ for the training weekend along with
members of the team who acted as "Dogs Bodies".

We would like to say a big thank you to James for organising the
event, the coastguard for their involvement and to Sea King Crew
from RMB Chivenor.


DSRT Team Member and Dogs Body Lyn being

Body Rob hiding in a tree, a challenge for all the dogs!

Tavistock Carnival 
– 17 July 2010
By Linda Williams
Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock) were pleased to support the Lions Club at the Carnival last

We were blessed with good weather for an interesting theme of “Lets Celebrate”, which resulted in some really stunning ideas. We decided to chose ourselves and to celebrate 42 years of search and rescue, helping people who are lost or injured. 

We decorated our vehicles and walked infront with our flag held high! It was heartwarming, on the parade, to hear such positive comments about our work and clapping from onlookers. Thank you, without the general publics support we would not exist.


DSRT Tavistock at Tavistock Carnival 

Helicopter Training 
11 July 2010
Members of DSRT Tavistock had the opportunity to do some
helicopter training with the RAF Search and Rescue team based at
RAF Chivenor.

The RAF Sea King met up with team members above Foggin Tor
Quarry and a joint exercise commenced which involved team
members being trained in all aspects of entering and exiting a
helicopter, including winching.

The team members were then taken on a flight around part of

Occasionally team members need to be deployed by helicopter in
real life situations so all members have to undergo training
from time to time, this included the teams Search Dogs.

DSRT Tavistock would like to convey our thanks to the RAF for
their assistance with this training.


Team Members Being Winched

Team Members with the RAF Sea King

Four More Casualty Carers 
– 20 June 2010

Over the weekend DSRT (TAVISTOCK) added four more qualified casualty
carer’s to its books. 

Following Six months of training Paul Hudson, Peter Swaine, James Sims and Alan
Packwood passed both a theory and two practical exams on
Sunday at our rescue centre. With the morning taken up with the 200 question theory paper, they carried out their practical assessment scenario’s in the afternoon. 

With these four members now qualified to the national standard that is laid down by MREW we have upped our level of medical response. These members are now qualified to administer certain drugs to casualties and carry out advanced medical procedures. 

We are especially grateful to the “in house” team medical personnel and
casualty carers for organising the training and to Dr Jonathan
White (DSRT OKEHAMPTON) and his assistants for giving up their
Sunday to be our examiners.   

Doggie Progress 
– 12 June 2010
Congratulations to Trainee SARDA Dog Handler Ian Bertie and his
Dog Ronnie who progressed from Stage 1 training into Stage 2.

Whilst away on a National training course in the Brecon Beacons
they passed their stage 1 test. 

The stage 1 test examines the dogs ability to indicate that it
has found a person (body).

Two bodies were hidden in thick woodland, and Ronnie was sent in
to find them, each time she makes a find she then has to return
to Ian, bark to indicate she has found, and then lead him to the
bodies location.


Ronnie in the Brecon Beacons

– 5 June 2010
Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team would like to thank everyone who contributed to our Tavistock Street collection last

Our total reached £763-93, which was even more than our record last year. 

As we are sure everyone appreciates it costs a lot of money to keep the team running and so an amount like this is very much appreciated.

The team would also like to convey our thanks to the Moorland Ladies Darts League for
raising an amazing £600 .


Dogs left in charge

Cheque Presentation from Dartmoor Ladies Darts League.

A Night Underground 
– 21 May 2010
Eight members of the team took part in a trip underground
organised by DSRT Tavistock and Devon Cave Rescue member Paul

Most participants had not been underground before so it was a
new experience.

The trip took place on the 21st May at Pridamsleigh Cavern near
Buckfastleigh. Team members were underground for about 2hrs and got into the cave as far as the lake, some of the group were put through some quite “sporty” bits 
includeding a duck through (under water) area known as the stocks.

Everyone who took part enjoyed the experience and it was good to
see what our Cave rescue counterparts have to do when they are
called out.


DSRT Members after their trip underground

Anyone seen my car keys?

Cheque Presentation 
– 12 May 2010
The Mayor of West Devon, Alison Clich-Green, nominated the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock) as her joint charity of the year 2009 – 2010. 

We were very grateful to receive a cheque for £333-00 at a joint presentation at the Council Offices on Wednesday 12th May.


West Devon Mayor Alison Clich-Green presenting
cheque to members of DSRT Tavistock

Ten Tors 2010 
– 8/9 May 2010
DSRT Tavistock deployed to Amicombe Hill at the head of Tavy
Cleave to offer emergency search and rescue cover for the 50th
Annual Ten Tors event.

An advanced party went up on Friday morning  to prepare the
campsite and receive an airlift of essential equipment from a
Royal Navy Sea King.

As the rest of the team arrived during the Friday, our camp
site, including two medical tents was put in place.

The weather for the event was near perfect, being mainly
overcast, clear views, and a cool breeze. These conditions meant
it was generally a quiet event this year for the team.

All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable weekend for
all those who took part.


Some of the team members who deployed at
Amicombe Hill.

New Callout Member 
– 10 April 2010
Congratulations goes to Paul Atkins after he successfully
completed a challenging night navigation exercise in good weather conditions on Dartmoor on Friday night to attain
callout status with the team. 

Paul, along with several experienced team members as examiners,
completed the trek flawlessly and in doing so passed
the final stage of their training. 

The news was announced and Paul was awarded his team jacket on
Wednesday evening after training.

All in all, a big well done to Paul and welcome to the callout


Paul Atkins explaining his route planning to
examiner Alan Packwood

– 16 MARCH 2010
Team member and SARDA dog handler Alex Lyons and his search dog
Max featured on today’s episode of Missing Live and BBC1 this

In a reconstruction of a real rescue carried out on the 1st
November 2008, team members along with Alex and Max demonstrated
how pensioner Margaret Haverson was found and recovered.

To view the program on BBC IPlayer click

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newsletter. Click Here


Alex Lyons and Max with


Two Moor Callout Members 
– 20 FEBRUARY 2010
Congratulations goes to Bob Coates and Ian Aimes after they successfully
completed a challenging night navigation exercise in poor
weather conditions on Dartmoor on Friday night to attain
callout status with the team. 

Ian and Bob, along with two experienced team members each as examiners,
completed the trek flawlessly and in doing so passed
the final stage of their training. 

They have been trainees with the team for around twelve months
during which time they have completed rigorous training in
navigation, first aid, stretcher handling, and radio
communications, along with swift water crossing and helicopter

The news was announced and Bob and Ian were awarded their team jackets on
Wednesday evening after training.

All in all, a big well done to Bob and Ian and welcome to the callout


Bob Coates explaining his route planning to
examiner Tim Forster

Success, Ian and Bob complete their Navigation exercise.

– 17 JANUARY 2010
Two of DSRT Tavistocks team members had reason to celebrate
after a double success at the SARDA assessment weekend in the
Lake District.

Catherine Jones and Bizzy passed their stage three assessment
which now means Catherine can work Bizzy on actual real life

The assessment comprises of five search areas. The handler is
expected to demonstrate an ability to thoroughly search each
area in a structured way and locate any missing persons within
those areas.

The stage three assessment is the culmination of 18 months
training for Catherine and Bizzy, and they both thoroughly
deserve their success.

At the other end of the training spectrum, Ian Bertie and Ronnie
successfully completed the registration test. 

The registration test is the first formal assessment a handler
and dog take. It demonstrates that the handler has control over
their dog and that the dog is obedient. It also gives the novice
an understanding of how to train their dog and how to think
through training problems.

The test comprises of walking to heel on and off the lead  when there are distractions, consistent recall, drop on command
at a distance, and 10 minute down stay of which 5 minutes must
be with the handler out of sight. 

The dog also undergoes an independent stock test to show that
it can safely work in areas when there maybe sheep or other farm

Both Ian and Catherine would like to convey their thanks to
everyone for all the help and support received.

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newsletter. Click Here


Catherine receiving her certificate from SARDA
President Neville Sharp MBE

Catherine with Bizzy

Ian and Ronnie receiving a SARDA Tag from Dog Trainer Jacquie

– 05 JANUARY 2010
Several members of DSRT Tavistock along with members from DSRT
Ashburton and Okehampton were filmed by the BBC  for the
program Rescue Live.

In a reconstruction of a real rescue carried out on the 1st
November 2008, members demonstrated the various tasks carried
out by the teams, the search techniques used and the way in
which the casualty was found and evacuated.

The BBCs Rav Wilding was on hand to interview several members
about their role on the afternoon in question.

It turned out to be a very enjoyable day for everyone involved
and we are all looking forward to the broadcast which is
currently set for the 20th March 2010.

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general team news, join our mailing list and receive our
newsletter. Click Here


Alex Lyons and Max being interviewed for
Rescue Live by Rav Wilding

– 20 DECEMBER 2009
Team members out on a SARDA dog training exercise got to put
their recent 4×4 training to good use this Sunday when trainee
dog handler and Coast Guard James Taylor Short got his car
stranded in the
ice at the bottom of Kit Hill.

Despite being a glorious sunny day the roads remained covered
with a sheet of ice from the previous days snow fall and were treacherous
to drive on.

James was attempting to get his car up the hill but could not
get enough traction so parked by the side of the road.
Unfortunately when he went to go home he could not move his car
out of its parking place. 

Fortunately, SARDA members and bodies from DSRT Tavistock were
on hand to save the day. Using skills learned in last weeks 4×4
training, we managed, through a combination of towing and
sliding the back of James car across the road, to free him from
his predicament.

The incident made for an exciting end to a good days training
and gave us all an opportunity to burn off some of the excellent
Christmas lunch we had just finished.

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newsletter. Click Here


Coast Guard James connecting up tow rope

Alex pulling James free 

– 12/13 DECEMBER 2009
Several team members took advantage of an opportunity to improve
their off road driving skills this weekend during a series of
courses held in woodland near Denham Bridge.

The exercises included driving across difficult terrain, up and
down steep inclines and along muddy tracks. 

Also as part of the course team members learned how to rescue a
"stuck" Land Rover either by towing with another
vehicle, digging it out or using the jack to lift it out of a
rut and onto more solid ground.

Team are often required to take the Land Rover (Ambulance) to
remote places in woodland or on the moor during rescues and
evacuations so it is important that team members are well versed
in the skills required to do so safely and efficiently. 

It is equally important that should the vehicle get stuck we are
able to get it operational again as quickly as possible.

It was generally agreed by everyone who took part in the days
that it was both an enjoyable and informative experience and
that the skill set of the team has been strengthened as a result.

A big thank you goes to Andrew Wrayford and Paul Hudson for
giving up their time to run the courses and for the use of their
Land Rovers. We would also like to thank The National Trust for
the use of their woodland.

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newsletter. Click Here


Team Ambulance negotiating muddy track.

Driving up a muddy steep incline 

Team Members.

– 24/25 OCTOBER 2009
Last weekend saw a multi agency training session set up and run
by Westward Ho Coastguard involving DSRT Tavistocks SARDA dogs
and their handlers. Some team members and regular dogs bodies
also participated as did the RNLI.

The purpose of the exercise was to harbour a greater
understanding of the techniques and types of work each
organisation use, what we can learn from eachother and how we
can work together in the future. 

On the Saturday, the RNLI took the teams search dogs and
handlers out on a life boat so that they could train in air
scent searching over water. The dogs are capable of finding
people both floating and submerged using this method, but rarely
get an opportunity to train. (See incident 28 on callouts page

On the Sunday the Dog handlers worked with the Coastguard
carrying out searches of the Burrows (sand dunes) and cliff tops
around Westward Ho. It was an excellent opportunity both for the
dogs to work in unusual terrain and for the Coastguard to see
how the dogs work.

All in all the whole exercise was deemed a great success. A big
thank you must go to James Short and the Westward Ho Coastguard
for organising the weekend and to the RNLI for their support.

A special note of congratulations goes to puppies Ronnie and
Poppy who both passed their stock test on Sunday.

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general team news, join our mailing list and receive our
newsletter. Click Here

Search Dog Scoot getting into position for a
water search  at the front of the RNLI Lifeboat

Handlers out with the RNLI 

Dogs, Handlers, Coastguards and RNLI

by Lynda Williams
Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock) would like to convey their grateful thanks to everyone who gave so generously at their latest fundraising event held at Morrisons Store, last weekend. 

The collection was scheduled for three days and in the first two days £2352:33p was raised. Two of our Search Dogs Cavos and Scoot, trainee dog Bizzie and puppy Ronnie attracted a lot of attention from the public. 

Our collection was cut short as an hour into Sunday we received a call out to search for two lost walkers in the Princetown area. Despite poor weather conditions they were found late in the afternoon. 

We are hoping, if we can reschedule our last day, we can achieve our £3000 target. The total to date is £2513:86p.

It was received with great sadness when we were informed that
our friend and colleague Cyril Stringer had lost his fight with

Cyril was always a gentle, helpful man who had been a team
stalwart since early 1995. He was always very approachable and
supportive particularly to the new trainees and was always there willing to help
and offer advice with a wry smile and a quip.

During his time with the team Cyril spent several years  on
the committee as fundraising officer. Whilst in this post Cyril
was instrumental in our successful application to the National
Lottery for funding for our current team Land Rover. Without his
hard work the application would probably not have been accepted.

Cyril will be greatly missed by everyone in the team, both old
and new members particularly for his experience, friendship and
most of all his sense of humour. A sad loss.

Cyril Stringer.
Last weekend saw the second national SARDA course of the year to
be held on Dartmoor, and Dartmoor did not let SARDA down.

The weather was magnificent, it could not have been better, with
three days of beautiful sunshine showing the moor off at its
very best.

There was an excellent turnout with handlers and bodies coming
from all over the UK to partake in the event. 

A number of different locations on the North moor were used over
the weekend, with the course being split into two different

The puppy school which is for young dogs just beginning their
journey in search and rescue. The puppies are taught obedience
skills and the basics of search techniques.

The senior school, in which you have the graded dogs and those
dogs approaching their stage two and three tests. In this school
the dogs get to train and gain experience on different and
challenging terrains with bodies hidden in unknown locations.

Several members of Tavistock Team helped out as bodies to
support the event.

A special note of congratulations goes to Tavistock team member
Catherine Jones who passed the stage two test with her dog
Bizzie, and also to James Short from The Maritime and Coastguard
Agency, who’s dog Poppy passed her initial registration test.


Congratulations goes to Helen Ashcroft after she successfully
completed a challenging night navigation exercise in poor
weather conditions on Dartmoor on Tuesday night to attain
callout status with the team. 

Helen, along with two experienced team members as examiners,
completed the five hour trek flawlessly and in doing so passed
the final stage of her training. 

She has been a trainee with the team for around twelve months
during which time she has completed rigorous training in
navigation, first aid, stretcher handling, and radio
communications, along with swift water crossing and helicopter

The news was announced and Helen was awarded her team jacket on
Wednesday evening after training.

All in all, a big well done to Helen and welcome to the callout

Tavistock U3A hosted their annual Strawberry Tea last Sunday in aid of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group (Tavistock). The event was held in the garden of the chairman, Ann Rowland, on a lovely sunny day and was well attended. After a delicious tea the group presented a cheque for £150 to Lynda Williams (Fundraising Officer) who was representing the team at the event. Their kind generosity will enable the team to buy some more
essential equipment.

The Bere Alston Cubs thoroughly enjoyed their meeting on Tuesday when the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock) gave them a talk and demonstration of how they work. Lynda Williams, Julian Setterington and Search Dog Matt Robertson with Scoot attended the event in a large field near the station. The cubs were shown lots of equipment, given a talk and then joined in a practical exercise of being found by a search dog. They then helped locate and recover a “missing person”. A very hot but enjoyable evening was had by all.

On Thursday afternoon, Lynda Williams, assisted by Search Dog Nic and Cavos, gave an interesting talk to the Tavistock Forum. The talk, along with a slide show, which was about the work of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team (Tavistock), was well received by all. The team received £94-02 from kind donations, for which we are very grateful.

– 24 JUNE 2009
Members of DSRT Tavistock enjoyed an evening dip in the in the
River’s Walkham and Tavy at Double Waters during last Wednesday
evenings training although there was a serious side to the fun
and games.

As a part of the teams usual search and rescue activities we are
sometimes called upon to both cross and search alongside fast
flowing rivers, so we regularly train in both activities.

We use various techniques to cross fast flowing rivers,
including forming a line pointing up stream and edging across.
This technique gives each member the support of the other team
members incase they slip, and reduces the drag of the water on
the team overall, with the person at the front of the line being
held securely in place by their team mates whilst they provide
protection from the current.

Another technique we use for getting larger groups across a body
of water is a huddle. The team form a circle, arms around
shoulders, then rotate across the river like a wheel. This again
gives everybody the support of their team mates reducing the likelihood
of slipping.

Occasionally the team is called upon to carry a casualty across
a river on a stretcher. In this case, the casualty will not be
secured to the stretcher for safety reasons. 

Also covered during the evening was line throwing, this is where
a specialist floating lightweight rope is cast across the path
of a person struggling in the river. When the casualty grabs the
rope, the rescuer crouches down anchoring the casualty. The
natural flow of the water will then pivot the casualty into the
bank where colleagues will assist them out of the water.

All in all it was both a good training experience and lots of
fun for all who took part.

To see more pictures from the water training evening have a look
at our water training gallery. Click here.

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general team news, join our mailing list and receive our
newsletter. Click Here

Team members using a line technique to cross a
fast flowing river

Team members practicing crossing a river using a huddle and
rotate technique

Team members practicing crossing a river with
a casualty on a stretcher 

 Throw line deployed by team member for casualty in distress. 

Several members of the DSRT Tavistock gave up part or all of
their Saturday to carry out a street collection to raise funds
for the team in Tavistock last weekend. Team members, trainees
and team dog handlers with their dogs managed to raise £711.54p
which is an excellent total given the ever more difficult
economic times we are facing.

We would like to thank everyone who turned out for the
collection, and all the members of the public who so generously
gave money to support the teams activities.

– 11 MAY 2009
I wanted to pass on my personal thanks and those from Richard’s father for the amazing work you did over the weekend at Eggesford whilst maintaining normal ‘business’ at 10 Tors and elsewhere. 

The resilience shown by everyone and all teams and the willingness to change plans at such short notice is testament to the outstanding professionalism of all the teams in Devon and Cornwall and the joint working we have so often talked about. If we can get such a tremendous response and operation going at this busy time then I don’t think there’s much we couldn’t actually do! I
may be wrong, but I believe this may well be the first occasion, where all seven local teams have contributed and worked together on a ‘live’ incident.

The update from the air support unit was that Richard was found lying prone on a
mud bank in the middle of the river. I believe he is alive today only because of your outstanding efforts.
The whole search lasted about 18 hours throughout the night and into the next day. 

Richard’s father was overwhelmed with emotion as he had feared for the worst. He obviously wanted to be with his son
ASAP and hence was unable to thank many of you personally and asked for his appreciation to be passed on.

I would ask that this email is forwarded to all team members, whatever they were doing over this busy weekend as everyone, whether at this operation, 10 tors or elsewhere, did a magnificent job.

Kind regards as always
Sgt Mike Rose
Force POLSA & POLS (C) 

I would like to echo Mike’s thanks. The seamless operation of so many teams linked with police resources was truly amazing. Our operating practices are the envy of many other forces who don’t enjoy such tremendous support from volunteer rescue teams. It is a pleasure working with such professional units and my thanks go to all of you and your teams for your commitment. It was an excellent result and an accolade to you all


Superintendent Sarah Sharpe 
LPA Commander 
South Hams and West Devon 

TEN TORS 2009 
– 9/10 MAY 2009
DSRT Tavistock deployed to Amicombe Hill at the head of Tavy
Cleave to offer emergency search and rescue cover for the 49th
Annual Ten Tors event.

An advanced party went up on Thursday night to prepare the
campsite and receive an airlift of essential equipment from a
Royal Navy Sea King.

The rest of the team arrived during the Friday, and our camp
site, including two medical tents was put in place.

The weather for the event was near perfect, being mainly
overcast, clear views, and a cool breeze. These conditions meant
it was generally a quiet event this year for the team, with only
two young participants needing to be helped off the moor.

During the quiet time, members of the team took the opportunity
to carry out some water rescue training in the River Tavy.

All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable weekend for
all those who took part.

Finally, It will also be a Ten Tors to remember for one team
member in particular, Lyn Summersby took her final navigation
exercise on the Friday night and passed with flying colours. As
a result she was awarded her team jacket on Saturday morning and
is now a full call out member.

Congratulations Lyn.

Team members loading kit into Royal Navy Sea
King at the end of the event

Team members practicing swift water rescue techniques

 Team member throwing a rescue line

– 20 APRIL 2009
Tavistock search dogs were very pleased to meet Graham Winder from Oscars.

Oscars have agreed a sponsorship deal with Search And Rescue Dog Association (England) whereby all the graded dogs will benefit from being fed with Oscars dog food, along with having access to the specialist nutrition, behavior and other advisors at Oscars. 


– 15 APRIL 2009
Whilst some of our members were visiting the Outdoors show at the NEC recently they had a pleasantly unexpected surprise when they were donated boot care products from Nikwax technical sales
representative Graham Jervis. The sachets of “waterproofing wax for leather” will come in very useful for members as we seem to tear through boots for a past time. This could be something to do with the acidic make up of Dartmoor’s famous peat bogs!! We are extremely grateful to Nikwax for their
continued support of the team


  – 12 APRIL 2009
Our SARDA handlers have again taken a good opportunity to expand the environment they train their dogs in, when they were given permission use a very large house and its grounds whilst it is being renovated. 

This will help them when they get called out to off moor searches. In the house they were able to hide the dogbodies in cupboards, it has been known for missing children to hide in such places and fall a sleep. 

The grounds provided rural lots of different scenarios. A good days training. 

  – 11 APRIL 2009
Members of Wessex 4 x 4 attended a
first aid training session run by the Teams training officer who
was assisted by some of the teams casualty carers.

The first aid session was arranged as a thank you to Wessex 4 x
4 for the transportation assistance they give the team during
large scale searches and during our training weekend.

Wessex 4 x 4 is a completely voluntary organisation with the
vehicles and

running costs paid for
out of the volunteers own pockets. We are very grateful for the
assistance they give us.

  – 8
APRIL 2009
Last night saw the team presented
with a challenging training scenario in which the casualty had
fallen from the top of Leather Tor and come to rest on a ledge
with difficult access.

Search Dog Handler Catherine discovered the casualty, and took
the responsibility of rescue manager, calling in the rest of the
team and the equipment required. Her navigator Andy, a trained
casualty carer took on the responsibility of first aid.

The casualty was
stabilised on the scene, before being loaded onto a stretcher,
and lowered down the Tor, using ropes to secure it and keep the
casualty safe.

The team then carried the casualty on the stretcher across very
difficult terrain including steep slopes and clitter back to
where an ambulance would be waiting. 

All in all it was an excellent exercise utilising many of the
teams skills and a great deal was learned by all.

– 5 APRIL 2009
Sunday saw several members of the team, some of the new trainees
plus two SARDA dog handlers and their dogs get some vital
helicopter training with 22 Squadron RAF based at RMB Chivenor.

The participants split into two groups and were shown around the
RAF Rescue Sea King helicopter, given safety and escape training
before being taken on a 45 minute flight up the North Devon coast
which culminated in a winching exercise. Everybody was winched
from the helicopter including the two search dogs and their
handlers. The winching of the dogs is a vital part of their
training as they could be deployed by helicopter to remote
places to assist in searches.

DSRT Tavistock would like to thank the RAF and all at RMB
Chivenor for giving us this opportunity to train with them


  – 29 MAR 2009
The organisers of the Dartmoor Mountain Marathon, Endurance Life, have cancelled the event due to be held on June 13th & 14th 2009. 

DSRT Tavistock were not involved in the organisation of this event but were asked to provide safety cover for which we were going to be a beneficiary. 

We were informed of the cancellation on Wednesday 25th March 2009.

– 27 MAR 2009
Congratulations goes to team
stalwart Terry Bumford who today received his long service award
from charity patron Lord John Burnett in a short ceremony held
at our base in Tavistock.

Terry joined the team in 1982, he had only been in for a few
weeks when his day job, The Royal Marines, took him away from the
moor and into the Falklands war.

Fortunately he came back unscathed and continued on with
Dartmoor Rescue and still does so  as a valued member of the team today. 

Terry has many a story to tell about his time with the team,
including how on one occasion, whilst out on a rescue in the
middle of Dartmoor, he became a casualty himself when he slipped
and broke his leg. Despite that setback, as soon as he recovered Terry
was back out on the hill helping to save others in distress as
and when the need arose.

Not only did Terry give up a lot of time to the team, but he
also trained and qualified to become our first SARDA dog handler
back in 1986.

Terry becomes the third member to receive the long service
award, only given after 25 years service to the team, and
follows in the footsteps of team Chair Nicki Lyons (MBE), and
her husband Alex Lyons.

– 27 MAR 2009
The team would like to thank all the
members of the Bedford Masonic Lodge for raising £340 to help
boost funds. 

In a presentation ceremony, team chair Nicki Lyons (MBE)
accepted the cheque on behalf of the team from members of the

The money will now be used toward creating additional storage
space for vital equipment by adding a mezzanine floor  to
the vehicle bay in the team rescue centre.

– 26 MAR 2009
The latest addition to the team website is a new
guestbook page. This site is regularly visited by people from
near and far,  we hope that you may like to leave us a
message. To do so, click here

– 25 MAR 2009
Last night saw the Teams Annual general meeting which was followed by the 6 monthly management meeting. Whilst
some of the management committee volunteered for and were
reinstated to their posts for another 12 months, we welcomed
aboard 3 new members. Jane Edmunds took over from Alan Packwood as secretary, 
Bruce Burton has taken over from Tim Forster as Equipment
officer and Peter Swaine has taken over from Andy Wrayford as
the new team treasurer. 

A big thank you goes out to all the new, current and retiring
members of the committee for all the work they do for the team.

Reports were presented by each of the trustees detailing the events of the last 12 months. We were also honoured to have in attendance Devon and Cornwall constabularies Sgt Mike Rose. Sgt Rose is the force POLSA for our area of operations and we are pleased that he could join us for the evening.
Sgt Rose was awarded with a certificate of thanks for all the
work he has done for the team over the last twelve months.

The Roy Harris memorial trophy for outstanding service to the team went to
Jane Edmunds and  Russ Hilton for all their hard work in
setting up and running the team casualty care course. Thanks to
their efforts the team now has 9 fully qualified casualty carers
and a structure in place to train more.

– 22 MAR 2009
Our SARDA Search Dog Handlers were invited to carry out training in the unusual setting of a working quarry. A total of seven “bodies” were hidden around the quarry, so that the dogs and handlers had the chance to train in an industrial environment. 

Search dogs Max, Cavos, Jilly, Sunny and trainee Search Dog Bizzy, searched the quarry floor, crushed stone heaps and some of the industrial plant. This gave valuable training experience away from the normal moorland environment.

We would like to thank Bardon
,  an Aggregate Industries business, who operate
Greystone quarry, for giving us this opportunity to develop the Dog Handlers and Search Dogs skills.


More Pictures

SARDA Handlers, their dogs, and

– 21 MAR 2009
For the second time in a week, members of the team had a chance to work with a Search and Rescue Helicopter. This time however, Rescue 169, the RAF Sea-King based at RMB Chivenor assisted in a training event at Venford Reservoir.

Members of Tavistock’s sister teams joined us in a day long Search and Rescue exercise. The scenario presented to the Search Managers was that a group of five friends had become benighted on the moor after a day waling on the Friday. As the scenario unfolded it was clear the group had argued and gone their separate ways. 

All five were located and safely recovered, with Casualty “J” being winched on a stretcher into the helicopter and Casualty “G” achieved his ambition of being taken off the moor on a stretcher. Casualty “M” helped us to examine our communication skills when it was established that she was unable to speak English, and conversation could only take place “en Francais”.

Rescue 169 approaching casualty site


18 MAR 2009
Written by Julian Setterington
DSRT-Tavistock was proud to be invited to contribute to the “ShelterBox Disaster Day”, for year-7 students at Tavistock College. 

We were invited, along with colleagues from the Police and the Fire and Rescue Service, to show students how local emergency services help people in a crisis.

During the day, we presented seven “workshop” sessions to nearly 300 students. They were given an insight into the equipment we use and what it feels like to be in a bothy bag with 12 other people. 

Our team Chairman, Nicki Lyons being asked to take part in the judging of the project work completed by the students during the day. 

– 20 MAR 2009
As it stands at the moment, all Mountain Rescue
teams have to pay VAT on the equipment used and other associated
running cost. All MR teams are currently self funded, relying on
the hard work of members, and the generosity of the public, for
which we are all forever grateful.

There has been a petition started to get MR teams VAT free. At present MR can get the VAT back on First Aid equipment, this
petition is to get all the VAT back, which will include, fuel, council tax, water rates, rent and other day to day
running costs. 

If successful, will put us in line with the RNLI. 

Please consider signing:


– 07 MAR 2009
Following 12 months of intensive training, call
out assistant Ian Luscombe successfully completed a four and a
half hour night navigation assessment.  Ian had to guide
his team across difficult terrain and contend with testing
weather conditions, that included wind, rain and thick mist.

A big well done to Ian on achieving his goal and becoming a full
callout member and thank you to everyone who turned out to help
with Ian’s final assessment.

– 05 MAR 2009
Search Dog Max has just received the “Shining World Hero Award” from the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association.
This was in recognition for his find 1st Nov 2008. Video

– 23 FEB 2009
Written by James Sims
Ashburton section held their annual training weekend from 20th Feb – 22nd Feb, at the Dartmoor Training Centre near Princetown. The weekend started on the Friday evening with many of the attendees staying the night – a great opportunity to meet and socialise with others from DSRT. Each section was
represented with five members flying the flag for Tavistock
team, so it was a great opportunity to get to meet people outside the beam of a
head torch! 

The Saturday morning started with a cooked breakfast, a light frost and clear skies. More members arrived, along with Avon and Somerset Police Special Ops officers. Following introductions, and general meet n’greet, the programme for the weekend was explained. The Saturday was to be a SAREX, and the Sunday a series of workshops. 

Search Dog awaiting deployment
Saturday SAREX
We were told that 169 would be in attendance for the whole day, and that we would get a flight – great though hopeful! Cue the helicopter briefing, which followed with the usual technical difficulties (with the PC not the helicopter). 

The Controller, Rob Illman of Ashburton section, was given the scenarios for the day. There were two; 1 a missing male walker overdue, 2 two horse riders also overdue. Team members, and trainees, were split into teams and team leaders assigned. Each team was given a search area and grid to be deployed to. 

En masse we made our way to the helicopter landing point, which soon became quite an attraction for passing traffic! Pilot and crew introduced themselves and then ran through helicopter boarding procedures for those wanting a more hands-on refresher. Others helped to set-up the control vehicle and radios. 

By this time the teams had bonded and were keen to be deployed. Sea-king 169 airlifted groups to grid references supplied by the controller – the SAREX was well and truly underway. 

We knew of two foot teams approaching from the south. As we crossed Broad Down the radio coverage improved and we learnt of a find north of Lower White Tor. Due to our close proximity we made our way there and reported in to Dave Close the cas site manager. The casualty was a conscious male with lower leg injury, he had slipped in clitter. On our arrival we were tasked with finding a safe route out for the stretcher, to the helicopter landing site. 

The teams had bonded and worked well together, people had clear roles and were sticking to them. Radio comms, although broken, allowed control to direct 169 to our location with the necessary supplies – vacuum splints, cas bag, and entonox. With multiple radios the team were able to monitor channel 62A to listen in on comms with 169. 

Following a swift carry to the landing site 169 returned, and the casualty was loaded up. Casualty, team members and kit returned to control where the SAREX ended. During the debrief with the helicopter crew they were tasked to attend a medical emergency at Dartmouth, as such they made their way. 

All involved were then debriefed, and team leaders gave comments in the usual fashion. 

Back at the centre a small group practiced close grid searching in woodland, managing to find some small items and a live casualty. It reiterated the importance of concentration and thorough searching. 

Four workshops were set up. Attendees were split into teams and went between the workshops. 

Smoke familiarisation showed trainees the different types available, their intended use and the possible dangers. 

Radio relays
Nigel Ash of Ashburton ran an exercise on relaying a radio message between six team members. A PMR channel was used to relay a complex message. The aim of the exercise was to show the importance of clearly and concisely sending and recording information. 

Rope work and injuries
The team had to explain the risks associated with hanging in a harness, and how a conscious casualty should be secured and recovered from a rope/harness. Basic knots, for securing a stretcher for example, were demonstrated and then a basic lowering and hauling system for use on steep/shear ground. This was useful as it showed inventive use of some basic equipment. 

There was then a final debrief and centre tidy before departing. A good weekend was had by all. Multi section training again proved to be beneficial. 

– 15 FEB 2009
Congratulations to Team member Dave Johnson who has recently passed out of RAF trade training at RAF Cosford. 

Dave stepped down from the team in Jan 08 to pursue his life long dream of a
career in the RAF but retains his association with the team as a support member helping out whenever he is home on leave. 

The team were exceptionally pleased to hear that Dave was presented with an award for “outstanding contribution and personal achievement whilst under training at DCAE

Dave receiving outstanding contribution and personal achievement
award at DCAE Cosford

– 08 FEB 2009
Last Sunday, our SARDA dogs took good advantage of the
of the snowiest conditions Dartmoor has seen for many years, by digging a hole
within a snow drift and hiding young Tom in it. 

It was then up to the skill of the search dogs and their
handlers to locate Tom. 

This teaches the dogs to dig and pinpoint the location of a casualty that has got lost in the
snow or decided to bed down in their survival bag, which then gets covered
during a blizzard. 

Tom found alive and well by trainee
search dog Bizzy

– 08 FEB 2009
One of our sister teams has unveiled a new look website. The new look site which went live at the start of the year looks fantastic. Congratulations to team member Jamie Bowring on a job well done. Visit
to have a look.

– 17 JAN 2009
There was a double success for the
regions search dog handlers during  recent assessments in
the Lake District.

Congratulations to Catherine Jones who passed her upgrade assessment to move Jilly from being an initial grade search dog to full grade search dog and herself from an initial grade handler to a full grade handler. This means she can also start on the instructor/assessor route for Search Dogs.

Congratulations also goes to Shaun Roseveare from our sister
team in Cornwall who qualified his dog Tigger and is Cornwall
SRT’s first Search Dog.

Tavistock teams SARDA Dog Handlers along with
team members who traveled to the Lake District to act as bodies
during the recent assessments.

– 31 DEC 2008
As 2008 comes to a close, we look back over a busy year for the team. During the year the team have responded to or been placed on standby for 49 incidents and assisted over 85 persons that required our help.

We have co-operated with the following partner agencies / services:

  • Devon & Cornwall Police 
  • Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service 
  • RAF Search & Rescue 
  • HM Coastguard 
  • South western ambulance service 
  • Shelterbox (UK) 
  • Wessex 4×4 
  • Cornwall SRT 
  • Our sister teams from DRG

1464 volunteer rescue hours have been given by our team members to assist members of the public in need, with many more hours in attending our team training sessions and collections – all vital to the continued running of the team.

We have welcomed several trainees on to the team having completed their basic training assessments and importantly also received a healthy number of new trainees from across our operational area, but we will be
continuing to seek new potential members in 2009. If you think you have what it takes to become a team member then please visit our training page.

We would like to thank all the individuals, organisations and businesses that have supported the team over the last 12 months for their generous assistance and would like to wish everyone a prosperous, enjoyable and safe 2009.

– 23 DEC 2008
As the year draws to a close DSRT (TAVISTOCK) would like to wish all our friends and
colleagues from around the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

– 6 &13 DEC 2008
This Saturday (13 December), saw the second of two full days’ Lost Person Search Management training for the team. 

Our instructor for this intensive course was Sgt Mike Rose, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary’s Police Search Adviser (POLSA). Sgt Rose is acknowledged as one of the UK’s lead professionals in the field of Lost Person Search Management. 

Five Tavistock team members were joined by colleagues from DSRT-Okehampton, Cornwall, Exmoor and Devon and Cornwall Police. Over the two day course, Sgt Rose was able to give an insight into the
behavior of “lost” subjects, so delegates will be able to develop a more structured approach to conducting Search and Rescue operations throughout our area.

All those who attended would like to thank Sgt Rose for both his time and his invaluable depth of knowledge. We expect the principles of good practice we have learned to have a positive impact as we move forward in developing all of our members’ skills and knowledge. 

– 13 DEC 2008
Saturday night saw the Tavistock team annual
Christmas do at the Fox and Hounds pub. There was a very good
turn out for what was an enjoyable social night. The annual
Skittles competition was won by "Team Bruce" (Bruce B,
Andy H, Ian B, Andy W) and there was a plethora of raffle
prizes. A big thank you to Alan for organising the evening, to
Rhod and Andy for organising the raffle and to Rhod for his
impeccable Santa impersonation.  

– 5 DEC 2008
Despite periods of heavy rain the team were out
in force for Tavistocks Annual Dickensian Evening. As is
traditional now the team ran their human fruit machine to help
raise funds. All in all it was a good evening despite the
inclement weather, with many members of the public taking an
interest in the teams activities.

The team would like to offer their gratitude to all the members
of the public who generously made a donation.

– 28 NOV 2008
The DRG Executive committee has unveiled a new look website. The site that was used by the group was starting to look tired and it was decided to give it a spring clean. This task fell to team member Ian Bertie (our team webmaster) to complete. To have a look at the new site visit
. With all the new changes we hope that it is more user friendly and we’re sure you’ll agree that Ian has done a fantastic job.
Keep watching for more exciting changes to come.

– 28 NOV 2008
November has seen some personnel changes in the team management committee. Firstly, Our Controller Bill McOwan has stood down due to taking a new position working for the Royal British Legion. Bill has worked tirelessly over the years for the team and represented us at many
multi agency meetings. Bill has also been responsible for driving the team forward in his previous role as fundraising officer. 

All of us at DSRT (TAVISTOCK) would like to wish Bill all the best for the future. With the controller’s position being such a vital one his deputy Paul Hudson has stepped into the position. Paul has served the team for over 15 years carrying out a variety of roles. The other big change was our fundraising officer, Cyril stringer who has had to stand down due to personal commitments. Cyril has worked hard to promote our PR and fundraising
strategies recently. He has been replaced by Lynda Williams and Julian
Setterington as her deputy. 

– 28 NOV 2008
If you are out and about in Tavistock on Friday Dec 6th in the evening then drop by and see the team. As part of the annual Dickensian evening held in the town the team will be displaying our rescue equipment and vehicles in Bedford square between 6pm and 9pm.

We will have our stall selling some interesting DSRT momento’s that may make the perfect
Christmas gift along with our human fruit machine. Team members will be available to chat to about the work that we do and we’re always pleased to see friends of the team, both old and new.


This weekend saw the annual Dartmoor Rescue Group training weekend held at Okehampton camp.

The weekend was a huge success and brought together visitors from all over the country. Amongst the various teams attending were Cornwall SRT, Exmoor SRT, Bolton MRT, Oldham MRT, WILSAR, HANTSAR, Kimmeridge Coastguard, London Fire Brigade, Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade USAR
Team, Devon and Cornwall Police, SARDA (ENGLAND), Wessex 4×4 and of course the 4 constituent teams of

Rescue 169 coming in to collect a casualty
The Saturday saw a large scale SAREX which also involved the use of Rescue 169 from RMB Chivenor and Oscar 99 from Devon and Cornwall police. With over 15 casualties on the hill there were many incidents to deal with.
The search teams made up from a mixture of personnel from all
the various groups involved worked together exceptionally well,
and it was generally agreed much was learned about the various
ways we all work.

Weather conditions proved interesting but not too challenging,
with patches of mist and drizzle being the order of the

The annual skittles challenge took place on the Saturday night and the winners this year were DSRT
(ASHBURTON). For once the trophy has stayed locally!! 

The Sunday saw a variety of workshops for the attendees to complete. 

There was a meet and greet social in the NAFFI on Friday
night  where members of all the various teams and
organisations became acquainted and in true mountain rescue style we even managed to drink the bar dry.

The team would like to thank the organisational committee for putting this fantastic event together. The event was especially unique as the DRG is celebrating its 40th birthday this year.

999 – 11 NOV 2008

Over the weekend DSRT (TAVISTOCK) added nine qualified casualty
carer’s to its books. 

Following Six months of training our members sat both there theory and practical exams on
Sunday at our rescue centre. With the morning taken up with the 200 question theory paper, they carried out their practical assessment scenario’s in the afternoon. 

With these nine members now qualified to the national standard that is laid down by MREW we have upped our level of medical response. These members are now qualified to administer certain drugs to casualties and carry out advanced medical procedures. 

We are especially grateful to the “in house” team medical personnel for organising the training and to Dr Jonathan White, Mark Randall and Darren Goodwin
(DSRT OKEHAMPTON) for giving up their
Sunday to be our examiners. 

This training will now filter down to the rest of the team with a view to running our next casualty care course in the new year.


With only 3 weeks to go to the annual Dartmoor Rescue Group training weekend, plans are well advanced into what promises to be an exercise better than ever. 

With attendees booked in from MRT, ALSAR, SAR, Police and Fire brigades from around the country it is hoped that the training weekend will provide a good platform for multi agency working and inter team operability. 

Last years weekend was a outstanding success and the planning for this one started soon afterwards. The
Saturday exercise will see a full scale SAREX based around the moor and the
Sunday will see a large selection of workshops. 

We hope to be joined over the weekend by the Devon and Cornwall police helicopter, RAF SAR
Sea King and the Devon Air Ambulance. 

We are especially grateful to Paramo
Directional Clothing Systems
for there support of this event and we look forward to seeing them there. 

Its not too late to book in for this event to be held over the weekend of the
15th and 16th November. If you are a member of any of the emergency services
or volunteer SAR organisations and wish to receive a booking form please email:

Watch this page for a full write up of how the weekend went.

Stretcher party approach casualty site.

Simulated Road Traffic Accident

Paramo Directional Clothing


Five members of DSRT (TAVISTOCK) joined colleagues from Cornwall SRT and our sister team from Ashburton on Saturday 25th October for the first regional equipment checking course to be put on in the South West.

Run by Pat Moret, the course covered all aspects of checking and maintaining Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It was a mix of practical and theory with Pat providing an insight into relevant legislation, industry and rescue best practice as well as bringing along a range of new and used equipment for candidates to inspect.

Tavistock Ambulance and some of the typical
kit carried
All participants will receive accreditation of their training through the AQA Unit Award Scheme (through Cornwall Centre for
Volunteers) – again a first for the South West and a first for the country. 

We hope that this will be the 1st of many of these courses and once again shows the fantastic working relationship that we enjoy from our friends “over the border”. 

It was an enjoyable day with the attendees looking at a diverse range of equipment and learning a large amount.

Thanks and congratulations to all who attended.

– 21 OCT 2008
Ofcom, the body which oversees radio communications, wants to tighten up the way the radio spectrum is used – a change that could cost rescuers dear. Teams fear any changes will have an effect on how they operate while out on rescue missions.

The bodies which oversee mountain rescue in England, Scotland and Wales are asking their members and supporters to write to Ofcom to make sure the rescue community’s voice is heard. But there is an urgency to the problem – the Ofcom consultation ends on 30 October.

The cause of the concern is Ofcom’s need to ensure the radio spectrum is used efficiently. Market forces have been applied to radio communication, with auctions set up to trade parts of the 

spectrum and official organisations expected to pay for the use they make of the limited frequencies available. Ofcom’s official jargon for this is Administered Incentive Pricing, and it is taking a fresh look at the whole scheme.

It will come as a surprise to many to learn that when the volunteer mountain rescuers of Britain take to the hills to go to the aid of stricken walkers and climbers, they have radios which use bandwidths allocated to maritime and aircraft users. Normally, they would have to pay to use these parts of the radio spectrum but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the official Government body which looks after Britain’s coast and seas, picks up the tab.

Mountain rescuers worry that if Ofcom puts the squeeze on the MCA by, for instance, increasing rates for other parts of the spectrum such as radar, the charities which run rescue teams will be forced to pay for their radio use. Even more worryingly, if frequencies are restricted, there could be more cross-channel interference from other users, endangering the lives of both rescuers and casualties.

This would be a particular danger in large-scale emergencies.

Now, the mountain rescue community, its members, families and supporters are being asked to write to Ofcom to support the MRTs’ case. Key concerns are the way radio communication helps teams preserve life, minimise pain and discomfort of their casualties, get injured walkers and mountaineers to hospital more quickly and ensure the safety and wellbeing of the rescuers themselves.


Radios also ensure search-and-rescue operations are run more efficiently and that lives could be put at risk if costs increase – MRTs have to fundraise to finance their current operations, and any extra costs necessary for radio frequencies may lead to sacrifices in other areas.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales stresses that submissions to Ofcom should be ‘in your own words’. Cut-and-paste missives are likely to be ignored, but grough readers can add their views by sending an email or letter to Ofcom or by filling in an online form. Full details are on the Ofcom site.

The online form has 14 questions, one of the key ones being: “Do you consider that we should discount fees for any particular user or type of user? Specifically, do you consider that there should be a discount for charities whose object is the safety of human life in an emergency?” Presumably, the mountain rescue community would like the discount to be 100 per cent.

The sums involved are hefty: £126,000 per megahertz used.

There is also a threat to start charging more for use of personal locator beacons, which some outdoor users would like to see available for general use. 

The case for exempting mountain rescue teams from the Ofcom squeeze is clear. A document prepared by a rescue insider says: “It is surely immoral to charge those persons who are fulfilling a humanitarian role and are already over-stretched because of increasing casualty rates, new legislation, etc.”

Any changes to the system are due to take place next April. Organisations such as the Royal National Lifeboat Institution are also likely to be affected



– 8 OCT 2008
The Team thank HF
for their recent generous donation of £375 from
their Pathway Fund towards an emergency shelter. The initial grant
application was sent to Vladi Prevratska (PR Manager HF
Holidays) and we were notified of acceptance by director Bill Mason.
A big thank you to everyone concerned. 

The Team would like to Congratulate Matt Robertson
and Scoot for passing their initial search dog assessments with SARDA ENGLAND at the weekend in the Brecon Beacons. 

Matt with Scoot, who is his second dog completed areas over 3 days in horrendous weather conditions to gain the title of search dog handler. This now takes the team up to 5 operational dogs and we believe that this may be the most that any team has in the UK!! 

Both Matt and Scoot have worked hard over the years to qualify their dogs and they wish to thank all those that have supported them through the training. 
“The last 3 years have been an emotional roller coaster to get to this point. I am so proud of
Scoot and she worked extremely hard in high winds and heavy rain to achieve this. I would like to thank my family for all their support but I would especially like to say thank you to Alex, Nicki, Matt, Catherine from the Team and Dave Humphreys from Exmoor SRT for their guidance and advice. I am also grateful to our regular bodies that give up their spare time to help out with the training of the dogs”. 

Last weekend 3 of our Team members made the long journey north to Scotland to attend the national MREW conference at Stirling university. The conference was well attended with teams represented from England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland. There were also visiting speakers from Canada, Norway, New Zealand, America and Hong Kong. 

With over 40 different lectures on a wide range of subjects, there was something to interest everybody. The conference was sponsored by Paramo directional clothing and we are grateful to them for there ongoing support of mountain rescue. On the Saturday evening there was a civic reception hosted by Provost Fergus wood and a beer festival arranged by the local MRT (Ochills MRT). A very enjoyable weekend was had by our members that attended and we look forward to the 2010 event.

Follow our recent purchase of Paramo clothing and the photo shoot that followed it we are pleased to announce that DSRT (TAVISTOCK) features in their latest catalogue. The Hill, Hike and more edition which is now available displays a photo of the team under the “why choose paramo” tag line. For you downloadable copy visit: 


We are grateful to Rob Cook and the rest of the team at Paramo for their ongoing support of DSRT


Team members help unload a stretcher
Members of the team today took part in a joint exercise with DSRT’s Okehampton and Ashburton. The objective of the exercise was to provide casualties for the crew of RESCUE 169 from RMB
Chivenor. The RAF crew had to practice casualty treatment and evacuation and we were pleased to be able to help them out. 

The exercise took place in the area of the Warren house Inn and attracted a huge amount of sightseer’s as the people using the pub beer garden were rewarded with a grandstand view. The exercise went very well but all plans of adjourning to the pub for beers at Endex were scuppered by the team getting a callout. 


Our SARDA handlers today took part in a slightly different form of their usual Sunday training. 

With our callouts varying in terrain from high moor land to built up urban areas it is important that the dogs are constantly trained to the highest standards. 

They were lucky enough to gain land clearance from members of the public in the Drakewalls area to carry out training search’s of fields and woodland. 

The search areas included an old mine addit that went back some 200mtrs and a field full of Alpaca’s which made a change to the usual sight of sheep that they have on the moor! 

They are especially grateful to Peter and Heather MacKellar of Town Farm vets and Ryan and Eileen for the use of their land and to Judy Gardner for allowing access, parking and for providing tea and cakes all day. Our handlers now hope to make this an annual training exercise.

Search Dog Handler Cath waits to see if her
search dog indicates a find in the mine addit

Having found, Search Dog Handler Cath crawls
deep into the addit to help the casualty

This weekend has seen our SARDA Handlers along with some team members attending a national training weekend based on Dartmoor. With Handlers from all over England attending, the chance to work with colleagues from further a field was looked forward to. Over the 3 days various training locations were used and the weather did not look favourably on any one of them!!! 

The annual August course is normally sunshine and heatstroke but this year heavy rain and hypothermia were more par for the course. Even with the inclement conditions a good time was had by all and the opportunity to have a chat over a beer in the evenings was much enjoyed. It was an especially taxing weekend for two of our handlers, Matt and
Scoot who are preparing for assessment in October. We wish them all the best.

On completion of the Paramo photoshoot not all our team members headed home. A night exercise aimed at helping our current trainees progress had been planned to run until early Saturday morning. 

Following a briefing from the training officer each trainee under the watchful eye of a callout member was then sent off into the night to navigate to set checkpoints. At various stages around the moor they would come across a particular scenario that they would have to deal with. These checkpoints included tasks such as CPR, Oxygen and Entonox therapy, flares and micro navigation. 

All the trainees then came together at about 0300hrs and were issued with a scenario for a missing person. They were given tasks that they would be expected to perform on a live incident and quickly located the casualty and dealt with him. The exercise was rounded off by returning to our rescue centre for de brief and a good old fashioned fry up. 

Following the purchase earlier this year of Paramo Aspira smocks and Fuera windproofs for every team member, we were tonight joined by Rob Cook and Matt Semark from Paramo who had offered to do a professional photoshoot for the team. 

It was almost guaranteed that on a shoot involving top of the range mountaineering jackets we would be blessed with sunshine!! For nearly 2 hours the team had both group and staged photos taken that will be added to the team archive. We are grateful to both Rob and Matt for giving up their Friday night to assist us with these photos. Keep watching our gallery page for a chance to see the photos taken on the night.

The Team once again entered the annual Tavistock Town carnival which had the theme of “Hollywood to Bollywood” this year. Team members swapped Paramo and boots for various disguises and dressed as Hollywood film stars for the evening. Although this year we didn’t win any prizes a fantastic night was had by all. Our “Stars” included, Lara Croft, Tom Cruise (Top Gun), Keria Knightly (Pirates of the Caribbean), Liza Minelli, Indiana Jones, Rocky and Harry Potter.


Our Congratulations go to team
chairman Nicki Lyons for her MBE, for voluntary services to the Search & Rescue Dog Association – England
and Mountain Rescue England. 

Nicki has been a call out member of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team Tavistock, since May 1982.
She has also served in various rolls on the team committee and
is the current sitting chairman. We consider ourselves extremely
fortunate to have Nicki onboard as she works tirelessly for the

She graded her first dog Dart in February 1988 and was one of the forty-five handlers who attended the Lockerbie Air Disaster in December that
same year. 

Nicki has responded to over 600 incidents to date, and with her dogs have so far been responsible for locating over
29 people alive and 6 deceased including 2 murder victims.

Nicky Lyons and Cavos
She has served on the as SARDA committee for over ten years as members rep, training officer, secretary and latterly Chairman, standing down in 2005 to concentrate on training her third dog Cavos who qualified in October 2006. 


Contacting Us

To contact the team please email by clicking upon the appropriate link below:

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