Rescue volunteers appeal for radio aid to cover county
4x4 specialists help the emergency services
A charity made up of volunteers who give support to rescue services is looking for a cash injection to boost its coverage.
South East 4x4 Response is a group of 134 unpaid specialists, who use their own 4x4 and offroad vehicles, equipment and skills to help to the emergency services, councils, and other groups across the county.
They also support Kent Search and Rescue by providing off-road vehicles to help with searches for vulnerable and missing people.
Over the last year the group has responded to 133 calls for help, ranging from clearing fallen trees and reopening roads, to transporting medical staff to and from patients’ houses in the snow.
So far this year crews have travelled 6,872 miles and spent more than 4,800 hours helping emergency services and the public.
Now, the charity is hoping to raise close to £3,400 to expand its network of radios to improve its coverage of the whole county. So far, £1,160 has been raised. James Chalkley, a spokesman for the group, said: “Communications play an increasingly important role in the work we do, and given the unique topography and rural nature of our county, until now, no one system has proved 100% reliable.
“In 2015 we began to install and roll out a digital radio network that could cover the whole of the county and allow quick and reliable communications from point to point.
“To date we have installed two digital repeaters, and now have reliable coverage across a third of the county, but to give us total coverage we need to expand the infrastructure by two more sites.
“In addition to this we are also looking to buy additional radio handsets that will allow us to deploy more people on the ground in response to emergencies, to liaise with local community responders and wardens, and coordinate efficiently.
“As a direct result of the radio network, we have been able to assist key NHS staff in getting to patients quickly in adverse conditions, deliver life-saving equipment, and provide immediate support to search and rescue teams working in remote locations.”
To donate, go to tinyurl.com/ SE4X4Radio
South East 4x4 Response is a group of unpaid specialists