THE local Community Rescue Service (CRS) is 'on the lookout' for new volunteers.
As the only accredited lowland rescue search and rescue organisation in Northern Ireland, CRS provides all aspects of search and rescue falling under the remit of lowland rescue including ground, inland water, bike, boat and more.
Often when people hear the words 'search and rescue', they have an image of an off-shore rescue, snow covered mountains or fast flowing waters - and while CRS can be involved in fast water or weather-related incidents, they are often tasked to searching villages, towns and cities for missing persons
There are currently 240 CRS volunteers in Northern Ireland - however, more volunteers are needed in the local area.
As the lowland rescue team for all of Northern Ireland, the CRS must have the capability to search every environment within their remit - and while being a part of CRS is often challenging it is also extremely rewarding.
One female CRS volunteer said joining has been both "fulfilling" and allowed her to "give back to the community."
"I joined the CRS in September 2021 and completed my training in January 2022," she said.
"I wanted to join the CRS to help others after seeing searches being conducted in the Omagh area.
"Since joining the CRS I have found a sense of fulfilment. The training has enabled me to expand on my first aid training, understanding of missing persons and the details that go into conducting a search.
"It isn’t as simple as just going out with a torch. The CRS has such a diversity of volunteers, ranging from 60s to 19-year-olds.
"This allows training nights to be filled with different life experiences and details conversations.
"CRS fits into my busy schedule as I am also a full-time nurse and a mummy.
"Being able to help for a few hours to search or fundraise has given me time to give back to the community."
The CRS is heavily involved in our local communities and is supported by volunteers for the teams and by funding from events.
Search and Rescue Technicians (SARTEC’s) can often be seen at not only major events, but also small community festivals where they use their skills to provide safety both for the event and those attending.
CRS have been involved in most of the long-established annual events across Northern Ireland for many years, providing safety cover, crowd control and emergency response.
Some of these events are known nationally and internationally as well as locally such as, Airwaves Portrush, Tenants Vital, Belsonic, Newcastle Air Show, Riverfest, Big Splash, Bushmills Salmon festival, Lamas Fair and numerous other local events.
The CRS provide this service in support of the aims of 'Helping Keep Our Communities Safe'.
Currently, CRS have a fleet of 16 boats and several specially trained water rescue teams to ensure we can provide an immediate and appropriate response.
Some of these boats and other water craft are permanently stationed in strategic locations on the River Bann, the River Lagan, the River Finn and the Mourne.
Others are kept ready on trailers to be deployed anywhere they may be required.
All of the water rescue teams and equipment, which includes boats, can be deployed at a moments notice to either a search and rescue incident or a flooding incident.