CamSAR are seeking to buy drones with thermal imaging capability to supplement and enhance our searches. Drones could potentially mean the difference of life and death to a vulnerable missing person, particularly as missing persons are often suffering from suicidal tendencies or other mental health issues such as Alzheimer's.
When CamSAR is deployed by the police the matter is therefore always time critical in order to preserve life; the longer it takes to search, the greater the likelihood that the outcome may be fatal. Typically Search Managers deploy Foot Search Technicians in small search units. Each unit covers a specific sector which may cover varied terrain. The Search Technicians carry GPS mapping software on their mobile telephones so that they may report to the police, via the Search Manager the exact areas searched.
Frequently there are areas within their sectors which are unable to be searched for a variety of reasons, for example, weather, marshy or river areas, low light / night conditions or dense undergrowth where a missing person may have crawled into, having no regard for their own safety. Searching these areas has to be delayed until specialist teams can be deployed, for example, Bank Search or Kayak teams; delays can result in the missing person not being found within a time frame vital to the preservation of life. Deploying drones would enable sectors to be thoroughly searched in otherwise inaccessible areas. This would increase the effectiveness and enable more time efficient searching and heighten the possibility of a missing person being found alive.
CamSAR have no government funding, relying entirely on funding through donations and grants. All of our fundraising events for 2020 have been cancelled due to Covid 19, leaving our funds seriously depleted and our dream of having a drone capability on the team in 2020 were dashed. Additionally, the team were busier than ever during lockdown.
In addition to remaining operational for attending callouts throughout the current Covid-19 crisis, we have also been heavily involved with supporting the community. We have been helping to deliver food to those vulnerable persons being shielded that have no other support network and personal protective equipment to healthcare facilities that desperately need it.
In addition to callouts to help search for high-risk missing persons the team has:
• Made the first delivery back on March 31. • Been out 56 days of the 67 days since.
• Spent 724 man-hours delivering supplies .• Had 21 different volunteers involved.
• Driven 17,180 miles. • Delivered food to 1,633 shielded persons.
• Given 1,252 volunteer hours so far this year.