2-Dec-2013 Source: Bristow Helicopters
In the past few weeks, Bristow SAR management has been “on the road,” giving presentations at meetings scheduled across the UK, attended by an extraordinary array of operational partners with which Bristow will collaborate in years to come.
Everyone working in search and rescue operations understands the importance of establishing good working relationships with Bristow’s SAR partners. In the UK, this network of operational partners is extensive and includes state run organizations such as the police, fire and rescue services and Her Majesty’s coastguard, as well as voluntary organizations such as mountain rescue, cliff rescue, cave rescue and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
In preparation for taking over the UK search and rescue contract from April 2015 and in partnership with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), on whose behalf Bristow will deliver the contract, Bristow’s UK SAR team is in the process of holding dedicated engagement events at nine locations across the UK. These events are aimed at operational partners and local stakeholders and give Bristow the opportunity to provide an overview of how the new service will operate as well as giving attendees the chance to ask questions.
The first two of these events, held in October near the Caernarfon and St Athan base locations, were hugely successful. Questions from attendees focused on the new kit and technology Bristow will be bringing to the service, how the transition from the current military service to Bristow’s service will be managed and how Bristow will organize joint training exercises in the lead up to and throughout the contract.
On Tuesday of this week, UK SAR Director Samantha Willenbacher and Global SAR Manager Simon Tye presented at Margate, close to the future Manston base location. On Thursday, Willenbacher and SAR Flight Operations Manager Clark Broad present at Humberside.
“We recognize that our SAR helicopters are just one element of a successful search and rescue operation and we need to work in partnership with other organizations in order to provide the best possible service,” says Willenbacher.
“These organizations provide vital SAR services across the UK and we are looking forward to building strong relationships with them in the months ahead. These events are very much the first stage in this process. Many have told us of the strong working relationships they have with current military teams and we are acutely aware we need to reassure them that our door is always open and our commitment to ensuring we all work together is on a par with the military’s.”
“Many of these organizations are made up of dedicated volunteers and it is humbling to meet with them and hear of their commitment to the fantastic services that they deliver.”
Before the end of January 2014 Bristow and the MCA will be holding seven more of these events in Inverness, Prestwick, Boulmer, Humberside, Manston, North Devon and Newquay to ensure partner organizations in these areas have the same opportunity to find out more about the changes ahead.