Fire station to become search and rescue charity’s new Cotswold base
By Sophie Ladd | 6th July 2021
A growing partnership between Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) and the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) has led to the search and rescue charity being given a new base.
It has been offered the use of premises at Cirencester Fire Station by GFRS, to help SARA establish a base in the Cotswolds.
SARA will be provided with parking spaces for their support vehicles, storage for their equipment and a meeting and training room, as well as kitchen and toilet facilities within the fire station.
The offer has been made at no cost to SARA as they work closely with GFRS and Gloucestershire Constabulary to provide support with incidents, including inland search and rescue operations.
SARA volunteers often help with searching rural areas and the charity has advanced first aiders trained to mountain rescue standards, along with other vital equipment and medication, to provide care for the casualty and safely get them to an ambulance.
It is hoped this new base will significantly improve the response to urgent searches in the east of the county and it is expected to be operational in a few months.
Mark Preece, chief fire officer for GFRS, said, "It's great news we're able to accommodate Severn Area Rescue Association at Cirencester Fire Station. We work closely with them on many incidents, including searches for missing persons, so this can only help to improve the response to those at risk."
Councillor Dave Norman, cabinet member with responsibility for the Fire and Rescue Service, said, "I'm delighted we can give Severn Area Rescue Association a new base at Cirencester Fire Station.
"Their support and expertise with searches for missing persons is invaluable so having a base in the Cotswolds will strengthen our collaborative work and help to provide the quickest possible response to any incidents in this area."
John Dutton, land search manager for SARA, said, "This new base will make a significant improvement to our ability to search for and find missing people in the Cotswolds and eastern part of Gloucestershire. We're very grateful to GFRS for making suitable facilities available and we look forward to meeting and getting to know the local community over the coming months.
Assistant chief constable Rhiannon Kirk, of Gloucestershire Constabulary, said, "Working with agencies like SARA and our fire colleagues is vital in helping us find many missing people each year so this example of collaborative action is great news.
"SARA provides specialist expertise on water and on land so their increased presence in a rural area like the Cotswolds is a very welcome development that will strengthen our response even further."
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