Most people who have worked with youth groups have, at some point experienced that rising panic when someone goes missing. Thankfully they usually turn up safe and well, blissfully unaware of the concern they have caused.
On the trail...
Most organisations, centres, schools and youth groups have systems and structures in place to monitor the whereabouts of their young people, but what do we do when suddenly we have a missing child?
Having spoken to a number of people it seems that responses vary, but generally such situations are often dealt with in an ad hoc way. In particular if a child goes missing whilst engaged in an outdoor arena we defer to organisations such as the Mountain Rescue, Police or Coastguard; but often it is when they are “on-site” and therefore less closely monitored that the disappearing act happens. In such cases the adults are often left without a clear plan as to what to do effectively.
It is a widely held belief that if a child goes missing from an outdoor centre or school, that calling the Police will solve the issue quickly, but by their own admission, they are not particularly well versed in organising searches for missing people. There is often quite a delay before search teams are deployed, and this delay can be critical. In twenty minutes a person can travel a mile, in any direction – putting this in real terms, searching for a missing person effectively and immediately heightens the chance of finding them safe, and therefore reduces the need to call out any emergency services.
To this end we have designed a one-day workshop, which addresses what to do, should a child goes missing. It is aimed at anyone who works with young people – outdoor centres, schools, youth clubs, Scouts and Guides, cadets etc. It equips organisations with key skills in effective management of immediate search techniques, which will crucially speed up finding a missing person.
Who are we?
Bob Knott is president of Dorset Search and Rescue (DorSAR), which is a Voluntary Lowland Search and Rescue Team, tasked to search for vulnerable missing people (“Mispers”). Bob is the most experienced Search Controller in Dorset, including the Police. DorSAR is currently promoting the “Get Found” initiative within Dorset Schools. For further information about DorSAR the website is www.dorsar.org.uk
Phil Robinson is Director of two Outdoor Training companies, Free for Life Ltd and Green Man, and has been involved in the outdoor industry for twenty eight years. He is a Team Leader with DorSAR and heads up the Tracking Competency Group for them.
What we offer
A bespoke programme for organisations, schools, centres, on their site, geared specifically to their needs and clients. This is an interactive programme and can include all relevant staff. It looks specifically at unique environments, client range and specific activities, including off site ones.
Or, a general programme for a number of different organisations, hosted at a central venue. This is possibly an opportunity for larger centres to host the workshop and offer it out to neighbouring organisations, such as schools and centres, who can only afford (financially and time-wise) to send a couple of representatives. This would give such people a blue print for how to design a Missing Person Action Plan, and could be followed up by further consultation, specific to their own situation.
Assign Roles & Responsibilities – Understanding who will do what, before an incident occurs
How to focus – Prioritising issues
STOPP – Stop, Take Stock, Objectify, Plan, Perform
How to act with urgency rather than panic
“Misper” Vulnerability Risk Assessment
To search, or not to search?
When to call the Authorities
Search Health & Safety – Assessing risk & managing hazards
Segmenting - Using maps & aerial photographs
First Aid – Required resource & use
Resilience – Overcoming failure
Northumberland Rain Dance
Basics of tracks & spoor recognition
Information Management & Media
Appoint & train a “Spokesperson”
How can the media help?
Press statements & Considered Response
Answer - don’t offer
“Honesty is Best”
Liaising With Police Press Officers
Peace of mind
We know that this course will give you effective techniques to deal with situations when young people disappear, finding them quickly, or knowing when to bring in outside agencies. It will, therefore, add to any organisation’s credence, and bring an additional peace of mind to parents and carers.