What happens when…

So how does the Lyme Regis Coastguard Rescue Team get called out to an incident? It all starts with a member of public spotting a person or vessel in distress at sea or on the coastline and them calling the Coastguard.  This could either be, by the 999 or 112 numbers on the phone network or via VHF radio on Channel 16 or Channel 70 (DSC).  The Maritime Rescue Sub Centre (Portland MSRC) would then decide which rescue assets are needed, given the target – is it a single walker or a cruise ship?, it’s emergency and location. If at that point it is determined that a land based search, rescue or observation is required in Lyme Regis Coastguard Rescue Team’s area, then the full team is paged.

So the first thing the team members will hear is the loud beeping of their pagers.   This means the team members stopping what ever they are doing  and making a phone call to Portland MRSC to inform them, that they are responding and proceeding to the station. 

Once the team begins to gather at the station, team members get kitted up with appropriate personal protective equipment, gather more information from Portland MRSC about the incident and load any extra equipment required for the incident into the vehicle. Once the necessary number of team members for the incident are kitted up, then the vehicle leaves the station and proceeds to the incident location. From the this point onwards the team is in regular communication with Portland MRSC primarily via VHF radio on channel zero (only lifeboats/coastguard/helicopters are allowed to use this private channel) or by mobile phone.

The whole process from the pagers going off to the vehicle leaving the station normally happens within 5 -15 minutes. If the incident requires a major search, then a search briefing maybe held before the team leaves the station. Some incidents will require most of the team (mud / cliff / search) and others (reporting/observation) may only require two or three members of the team.

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