Blisters on the Big Black Mountain Challenge raises £1055

Eight members of the University of Bristol’s German Department raised an amazing £1055 for their chosen charity: Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue. The team included an ASSAR volunteer. They took part in the Big Black Mountains Challenge enduring blisters, injured ankles and sore muscles but they said it was all worth it.

We would like to thank all those involved for their fantastic effort.

Members of the University of Bristol's German Dept presenting the cheque for £1055 to Duncan Massey, Chair of A&SSAR.

Members of the University of Bristol's German Dept presenting the cheque for £1055 to Duncan Massey, Chair of A&SSAR.

Posted on 06 / 06 / 2013

Critical Care Experience

A member of A&SSAR accompanied a Critical Care Paramedic on a shift recently to increase his skills in dealing with medical emergencies. As volunteers who never know when they’re skills are going to be called upon it’s important they undergo a variety of training and experience to maintain their competency levels.

The air ambulance base at Filton also provides rapid response vehicles for their critical care paramedics alongside the helicopter. A&SSAR is a co-responder with South West Ambulance Service allowing its members to act as ‘observers’. Operating from here with the paramedic the member was able to gain valuable insight into the high professional standards along with hands-on experience at a cardiac arrest.

Members of A&SSAR all need to hold an annual Basic Life Support certificate, including paediatrics. Many also hold a Casualty Care certificate, a qualification specific to mountain rescue teams. The member commented, ‘I’ve recently re-certified as a Casualty Carer so this was a great chance to develop my skills. As volunteers on call 365 days a year we never know when we’re going to need these skills so it’s important to keep them up-to-date. My thanks to the Great Western Air Ambulance team for this opportunity’.

The Critical Care Paramedic is also a member of A&SSAR. The combination of unique skills brought to the team by each volunteer ensures A&SSAR remain the search and rescue specialists for Avon & Somerset Police.

A&SSAR observed accompanying Critical Care Paramedic

A&SSAR observer accompanying Critical Care Paramedic.

Posted on 29 / 04 / 2013

On a Callout with ASSAR?

Do you want to know what it’s like to come on a callout with ASSAR? If you’re part of a group that organises speakers or would just like to have a presentation on our role please get in touch.

We offer an intriguing look behind the scenes at the callout process, how we search and rescue people that are far from help. We can travel to any group meeting in Avon and Somerset and simply ask that a donation be made to the team.

If you would like to find out more please contact communication@ascrt.comCrowd waiting for ASSAR speaker

Posted on 18 / 03 / 2013

Selection Weekend 2013 Update

Eleven potential new members undertook the selection weekend this year. The first step in the ASSAR joining process is to attend the selection weekend. The weekend is a series of tasks, talks and exercises carefully designed to see how people operate in teams, under stress and with current team members. The weekend ends with a large search and rescue exercise where the potential new members work alongside the team to locate and then rescue a missing person.

The committee would like to thank those that committed time and effort by attending the weekend. The team is built on a succession of new people developing through the team and their effort is appreciated. If the attendees are successful they will need to attend 6 months of training before becoming an ‘aspirant’ and allowed on certain call-outs. It may be another year before they are granted full team member status.

The next selection weekend will be in 2014.

ASSAR selection weekend 2013

Potential new members during an exercise with ASSAR as part of the selection weekend 2013

Posted on 05 / 03 / 2013

Selection Weekend 2013

We have one selection weekend per year if you’d like to try and join the team. This year it’s being held on 2nd – 3rd March near Bristol. The weekend includes talks, practical sessions, a night navigation course and a search & rescue exercise.

Details have been sent out to nearly 30 individuals but it’s not too late to receive details. We’re not looking for any specific skills but are expecting you to be comfortable for prolonged periods outdoors, reasonably fit as most call-outs last over 2 hours, are calm and able to fit in with a close knit team.

If you would like to receive details please email

Posted on 23 / 01 / 2013

ASSAR help injured cyclist in Cheddar Gorge

After training at Cheddar Gorge on Sunday 20th January a team member came across a crashed cyclist at the Horseshoe Bend, Pinnacle Bay area. A team vehicle was used to warn and fend off other drivers, a passing family in a car volunteered to inform other team members at the bottom of the gorge. The injured cyclist was protected from the road and cold air using the standard kit contained in the vehicle while an ambulance was called. The casualty had a painful lower limb injury. A solo ambulance responder arrived and could provide pain relief while waiting for the ambulance crew to arrive and transport him to hospital.

All A&SSARs vehicles contain a wide variety of medical kit to help us respond whenever the need arrives.ASSAR help at cycle crash in Cheddar Gorge

Posted on 22 / 01 / 2013

Prepared for the cold thanks to Guy Salmon Land Rover

Guy Salmon Land Rover, in Bristol, have very kindly donated the team thermal mugs and ice scrapers, just in time for theThermal mugs and ice scrapers supplied by Guy Salmon Land Rover predicted cold snap later this month. The mugs and scrapers have been distributed to all of the team’s vehicles.

Many mountain rescue teams have a base that they operate from. Due to the size and nature of the area covered we have adopted a mobile approach with vehicles based in strategic locations. The vehicles are crucial to the successful deployment of the team and also widely used as support to the police and ambulance services during bad weather.

Our thanks to Guy Salmon Land Rover for this kind gesture.

Posted on 07 / 01 / 2013

Update: Operation Coventina Coverage Continues

The successful Community Resilience flooding exercise in Congresbury, North Somerset, last year continues to get great pressA&SSAR coverage of Operation Coventina coverage. North Somerset Life, the local authority publication for the area contains a comprehensive write-up from the council and communities point of view. The article mentions our role with a half page picture of one team at the community centre.

The exercise, known as Operation Coventina, is discussed in more detail below.

Posted on 07 / 01 / 2013

Broad Community Role for A&SSARs Skills and Vehicles

On 11th December one of A&SSARs marked 4×4 rescue ambulances was flagged down at the scene of a two car road traffic collision on the A38 at the junction with Dundry Lane, south of Bristol. A&SSARs driver informed police control and requested uniformed assistance at the scene. The rescue ambulance was put in place ahead of oncoming traffic on the southbound carriageway, with emergency lights showing, as a warning to approaching drivers and to act as a ‘fend off’ to protect the victims and collision scene. The vehicles involved were totally blocking the very busy southbound A38 carriageway at the time. All parties involved were checked over at the scene by GWAS, further to this one was transported away by ambulance. A&SSAR assisted with traffic control on scene with a police officer until the wreckage was removed ‘under police powers’ and the road returned to full use 3 1/2 hrs later.A&SSAR rescue ambulance helping at RTC on 11/12/12

Posted on 14 / 12 / 2012

Operation Coventina: flood exercise in Congresbury & Wrington

A&S SAR were actively involved in multiple frontline search and rescue taskings during Operation Coventina; a test of community and stake-holder resilience planning in response to the possibility of wide area flooding in and around the Congresbury & Wrington area of North Somerset. This is an issue currently high in public view and highlighted by many reports as of growing concern. A&S SAR’s specialist Flood Search & Rescue Teams were tasked into action in key areas, responding to a variety of incidents. All the while information being provided evolved in this real time, live exercise.

Our colleagues in RAF Search and Rescue, 22sqn ‘A’ flight based at RAF Chivenor, also attended, together with a regional RAF Search and Rescue Liaison Officer. Both provided invaluable resource and input to the operation, assisting with the deployment of A&S SAR’s specialist Flood Search & Rescue Teams and providing their own very capable RAF Search and Rescue assets. This was a unique opportunity to exercise jointly, to hone skill sets and the seamless operation of the leading search and rescue resources covering the area, ensuring and protecting residents well being.

A&SSAR search advisor preparing to brief the SAR incident controller, coordinating the teams on the ground.

A&SSAR search advisor preparing to brief the SAR incident controller, coordinating the teams on the ground.

A&SSAR flood search and rescue teams prepare during Operation Coventina.

A&SSAR flood search and rescue teams prepare during Operation Coventina.

Posted on 10 / 10 / 2012