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Wednesday, 12 September 2018 11:50

Major investment to bring vital radio network into 21st century

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Major investment to bring vital radio network into 21st century

WESTCOUNTRY lifesaving volunteers are hoping a new prize draw will give them a flying start towards funding a major upgrade to bring its radio communications into the 21st century

For decades the radios used by members of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team in Ashburton have hardly changed.

The Ashburton team has had to retire 15 of its VHF radios but still needed to communicate effectively when responding to the 35 callouts for the lost, missing and injured it receives each year. 

it took the opportunity to look at how it communicates and found digital technology could bring many advantages. so is fundraising towards a target of £45,000 to convert to a digital network.

2018 draw prizes

Prize Draw

The solution is a £1 prize draw running from now until December 14th with prizes including top quality outdoor equipment, experience tickets and wine, all donated by supporting businesses.

‘The team, funded entirely by public donations, has used the opportunity to not just replace 'like for like' its retired radios,  but to invest and make a leap into 21st-century communications for callouts, training exercises and fundraising events,’ said Technology Officer Ross Livings.

‘The way we communicate hadn’t changed significantly over the last 40 years apart from radios getting smaller!

‘By adopting modern digital technology we can communicate more effectively and improve the safety of our volunteers as each callout member will have their own radio capable of pinpointing their position using GPS functionality. 

‘We will also be installing new digital repeaters and lightweight masts to significantly reduce the number of coverage black-spots’

Team Leader Keith Lambeth said: ‘The £45,000 investment is significant but will serve the team well for many years to come as our callouts become more varied and increase in number.

‘We support the emergency services, respond to calls for the lost and injured on Dartmoor like we always have done, and increasingly respond to flood and water incidents, as well as searching for missing children, people with dementia and mental health issues.

’The calls cover South and East Devon including frequent urban searches in places like Exeter and Torquay.

‘We hope sincerely the public will support us and allow our small local charity to continue providing a free vital service to those in need 24/7.’

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Charity Number: 1106098.