Thursday, 24 September 2009

How to Search

The DSO (Deputy Station Officer) Austen has today been renamed the BSO (Bacon Sandwich Officer). Somehow during the lengthy search this morning Austen managed to ‘acquire’ 6 bacon sandwiches with brown sauce. Now this is not something you shout across the radio channels, so a cryptic “Alpha, this is Bravo, I have found something that may be of interest” was issued; - the codeword for bacon sarnies.

Joking apart, one of the key things in productive searching is to keep the team briefed and fed and watered. Searches of defined areas are undertaken and after an hour of intensive searching your brain is fried; a quick 10 minutes to regroup, recharge and take on water and be re-tasked before we go again. This leads to a far more effective search, and allows the team to go on searching for hours.

You check everywhere, under boats, behind beach huts, in bushes, under trees, up trees, and try and get into the mind of the casualty. Would they be cold? Where would they shelter? Which way is the wind blowing? Which side of the hedge would you shelter? Is the casualty actually capable of rational decisions? If they had fallen at this point where would they have landed? Why have they gone missing? Where do they usually go? Am I putting myself in danger searching this area? And why is Eric sat in the truck with the air-conditioning while I swelter on the cliffs?

Then you get the call you’ve been waiting for ‘MisPer found’ (Missing Person); it’s an anticlimax but fantastic news!!….you know you’ve done something good for the community and someone goes home to their family.

Back to the coastguard station, sort the kit, a quick debrief/analysis of the search, and everyone goes back to their normal places of work. Job done.

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