Catherine, one of our current trainees, talks about the motivation behind her joining the team.
My motivation for joining the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team at Ashburton was directly as a result of having been on the receiving end of their professionalism and dedication, when they hauled my daughter out of the Dart gorge up very steep ground, whereas the NHS and Search & Rescue helicopters had both been unable to safely reach her. She had sustained a knee injury while jumping in the river and was unable to walk. We sat and waited for about 3 hours while the emergency services decided it was too tricky a location and her injury not worth the risk of winching her out of the gorge, and them calling DSRT.
When they arrived it was a wonderful sight to see Paul and Mike in their red jackets approaching, and within minutes being warm again (having only come out equipped for a quick swim on the last afternoon of the holidays…) as they provided my daughter with a kit mat to sit on, and spare clothes for both of us – my first taste of wearing a red jacket. I was very impressed with the efficiency with which the rescue was carried out, as the ‘screamer’ was rigged and put into action. I was amazed by all these people giving up their beautiful summer evening, pending barbecues and meals, to come out and help. It was a lot of work getting my daughter safely and comfortably onto the stretcher, and then all the way up the side of the gorge to Dr Blackall’s drive and the waiting landrover.
During the evening I had the opportunity to quiz team volunteer Taz about training nights etc, and I couldn’t help thinking how much I would enjoy being one of the rescuers. Anyway I sent off my application form and attended the October assessment day, which was rather nerve wracking as 16 of us were going for 6 places. It followed the format described in previous blogs. I was extremely delighted to receive the call from Mickey telling me I was one of the chosen ones.
My first few training evenings were quite intimidating, being surrounded by all these people in red jackets and head torches who all knew exactly what they were doing. As the weeks have gone on I have come to appreciate both what a priviliege it is to be part of the team, and how much time team members are willing to give to teach me and my fellow trainees what we need to know. I had no idea quite how beautifulDartmoor could be at night, and I feel very lucky being out every Wednesday in such an amazing environment.
While the training nights have frequently put me out of my comfort zone as I do new things, I feel I am learning at a good pace, and look forward, in a years’ time or thereabouts, to wearing a red jacket again, as a team member this time, and getting the chance to help others as we were helped.
Thanks Catherine for the post and we are glad you are enjoying life on the team.