MR can be called out by the Police or Ambulance. They open a log in a system called SARCALL, and a SMS is sent to the MR coordinators in the MRT covering the location of the the incident. The coordinator calls the contact number in the SMS for further information (ambulance control, police search manager/POLSA or control room). From there they decide the appropriate response.What about reports of say a stranded/injured mountain climber? Who calls out the MRT or SAR Helo? Indeed who makes the call whether it’s a helo from the off, or send the MRT first? I know the crabs used to run a national rescue control center in Kinloss, but I assume that went away with the Nimrods, or even before.
Casualty at a known location:
The team is called out and directed to an RV, which is chosen by the MR coordinator. This may be an "immediate" response (blue lights) if paramedics are not with the casualty, or standard (no blue lights) if the casualty is not critical or paramedics are with the casualty.
What resources are sent is dependent on what's available, any other ongoing incident and the particulars of the casualty and location. The casualty location would be confirmed using PhoneFinder (a message is sent to a mobile phone at the casualty site. Opening a link in the message sends the grid figures to SARCALL and is pinpointed in a map in SARCALL.). Information is handed over to the MR on scene commander and they run the incident with the coordinator is support.
If there is an immediate risk to life or the casualty is in a very remote location we may request a helicopter through the police control room. This can be NPAS (police), air ambulance or coastguard. This is to get aid to the casualty ASAP or to assist in transporting MR members to the cas location.
MR is often stood down enroute to the RV if the heli gets there first and has collected the casualty. We do not stand down if the heli is enroute to the casualty. The heli may be retasked, run it to bad weather, have mechanical issues or decided the casualty is not a priority for heli evacuation. MR would still be needed to transport the casualty to the road and hand over to a land ambulance. We do not transport the casualty to hospital.
Ambulance control sometimes call MR when the casualty could be handled by a land ambulance but we push back as that's not our role.
Casualty location unknown / missing person:
Similar to a known casualty location callout. Information requested from the calling authority and a response decided on. Major difference is a more complex/considered plan for the response. The POLSA will have information on the MISPER (age, clothing, physical & mental health, police markers for violence/weapons, etc), terrain/area (open ground, urban, water hazards, mountainous, mine shafts - well, I am in Wales!), reason for going missing (do they want to be found, are they hiding, dementia, lost child, suicidal), locations in the area important to them (favourite camping spot, parents graves, past residencies), what they were doing when they went missing (Hill walking with a route card, absconded from a mental health unit, playing with friends, caught fiddling with his daughter and off to top himself) and so on.
The plan will include initial search areas, one or more RVs, initial tasking of resources, request for NPAS heli and thermal imaging, additional bodies from other teams, MR search dogs, police enquiries at addresses, etc. The MR coordinator issues taskings to resources as needed. As team members are volunteers with day jobs there can be a lot of juggling of individuals and timing. Response vehicles need to be picked up, along with specialise equipment, such as SRT/water search gear. Control is passed over to an MR search manager when control is set up at the RV.
All callouts where the location is not known should come via the police. If the casualty location is not known then we should be called out by the police.
There is still a national coastguard heli coordination centre. I think the ARCC is in Kinloss, as Bristow took over the heli service after RAF and navy helis were stood down a few years ago.