Operational Team Member Application

An Introduction to Trainee Membership

Exmoor Search & Rescue Team is a voluntary Mountain Rescue Team providing specialist search and rescue services across large parts of Devon and Somerset. Our volunteer Team Members are on-call 24hrs a day, 365 days a year to assist both Devon & Cornwall Police and Avon & Somerset Police in locating lost or missing persons, and alongside South Western Ambulance Service and Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, to recover the injured and ill from remote locations.

You are applying to join a Team of highly skilled and deeply committed volunteers who all share a love of the outdoors and helping those in need – come rain or shine!


To apply for team membership you must:
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a good hillwalking background
  • Be able to navigate proficiently and be able to move safely and competently over mountain/moorland terrain in all weather conditions during day and night in all seasons.
  • Possess sufficient personal clothing and equipment to spend at least 24 hours working on a rescue incident. A suggested kit list is available here
  • Be physically and mentally fit and endeavour to remain so.
  • Be willing to work as part of a team, carrying out tasks as required by the leaders of the team or section.
  • Be prepared to serve a probationary period. During this time applicants will be expected to attend the majority of training sessions offered by the team and will be continuously assessed on their existing hill craft skills, newly acquired mountain rescue skills, level of fitness, temperament and suitability for team membership.
  • Have a good degree of availability for attending call-outs
  • Have suitable transport or other firm arrangements to attend incidents
  • Be prepared to commit time and effort to ancillary jobs such as fundraising
  • Appreciate the high standards of behaviour and personal integrity expected of them.

Membership of ESRT is not something to be considered lightly; despite our being unpaid volunteers, the police and public expect a professional standard of service. We are held in high regard and maintaining this reputation depends on the full commitment of its members. Joining the team will cost you time and money; you will suffer inconvenience, get wet, cold, tired and find yourself in potentially dangerous situations. Your safety and that of others will depend on your personal skills and your ability to work as part of a team.

To progress your application we will require the following information:
  • Personal Details
  • Details of Outdoor Experience and Qualifications
  • Details of Driving licence
  • Declaration of criminal convictions
  • Declaration that you read our policies

If you have any issues with completing this form or require this form in a different format please email
If you wish to complete a paper version of this form please download it here. Rather than print out the whole document please return pages 7-12 and 14-16 to:
Membership Coordinator (Confidential)
Exmoor Search & Rescue Team
Unit 4, Limefield South
Pathfields Business Park
South Molton
EX36 3LH

Pathway to Full Membership

Every trainee is expected to complete the steps outlined below to become a full team member.
  • Initial application to join the Team
  • Prospective Trainee Induction Day/Evening
  • Probationary Period
  • Trainee training
  • Appraisal
  • Competency Assessment
  • Operational Membership
This is a fluid process with no time frame attached. It is anticipated that everyone learns at different rates and in different ways. Some Probationary Team Members arrive with a wealth of transferable skills, while others require more time to acquire these core skills. The Team will work with you, at your own pace, to help you achieve Operational Team Member status.


If you feel that you fulfill the basic requirements then either complete this online form or by downloading the application form and emailing/posting it to the Membership Coordinator (see previous section for details).
Your application will then be reviewed by the Team leadership and Membership Coordinator and you may be invited to attend a prospective trainee induction day (or evening). To preserve the team dynamics and to provide a positive training experience the team limit both the number of trainees and intakes during the year. Therefore you may experience a delay between application and invitation but will be informed of this.


The Membership Coordinator will contact you about arrangements for the day. If you are unable to attend this induction you will be invited to the following induction. This is an opportunity for you to meet some of the Team Officers, some of the Team and fellow prospective trainees. The induction is a chance for us to assess your ability to become a Team Member and for you to assess whether you wish to continue with your application. You will be expected to participate in a series of activities focusing on hill-craft, first aid, communication and leadership.

To allow an informed decision on whether you wish to continue you will be told about the set-up of the team, the trainee training programme and expectations of you as a trainee and operational team member.


This period, normally 3-4 months, allows you to get to know our Trainee Team Members, the Operational Team Members, our Support Team Members, the wider Mountain Rescue Community and similarly, for the Team to become acquainted with you. The focus of your probationary period is on Team integration with a gradual introduction to training and developing your core skills. You will be assigned a mentor who will support your progress throughout your training.

Training undertaken during this period will be recorded in your training logbook.


Following a formal review of your probationary period, you will be invited to continue your training, if this is something you would like to continue with.
Training is organised on a quarterly calendar, and consists of the following:
  1. First Thursday of the month (1930-2130hrs) - either indoor or outdoor training session together with an administrative meeting. Indoors are held at our unit at South Molton.
  2. Middle Wednesday (1930-2130hrs)- an outdoor training session.
  3. Last Sunday of each month (1000-1600hrs) - an all-day outdoor exercise/training session.
Outdoor sessions are held in a variety of locations, usually in our operational area. The annual training diary is designed to cover the rescue skills required. Trainees are encouraged to ask for additional training that is particularly targeted at helping complete sections of the Training logbook.

There is no prescribed time-frame or limit to the training period; Trainee Team Members are encouraged to attend core training and focus on completing the core competencies detailed within the handbook.

It is important that during the training period and after it is complete you get to know all the other members of the Team. All members of ESRT will be expected to hold a ‘First aid at Work’ certificate (or Mountain First Aid). Ideally this will be obtained through the workplace, otherwise the team will fund 50% of a course after 1 year, and 100% after two years in the team.


Later in your training there will be an appraisal for you to inform us of how you feel you’re getting on. Your strengths and areas for development will be discussed between yourself, your mentor and members of the Team Leadership. This discussion will allow you to plan your final push to becoming a team member.


The final stage in training will be a performance review in a simulated operational exercise to check you have the core set of mountain search and rescue skills required for full team membership.


When your membership has been agreed, you will be placed on our call-out list. We are on call 365 days a year 24 hours a day. Understandably there will be times when you may be unable to attend, but you will be expected to attend a minimum 60% of all organised training activities as an ongoing commitment to your continued training. You will also be required to participate on a regular basis in the cleaning and maintenance of the team’s premises, vehicles and equipment.

As a charity we have to raise all our own funds. Public relations and fund-raising events form an important part of the Team’s activities and your commitment and participation in these is also expected.

Personal Details

Required fields are marked with an asterisk.

The information disclosed on this form will be treated with the strictest confidence and will only be seen by those Officers directly involved with the membership and training process, and will be stored in line with our data protection policy.
Personal Details

Contact Numbers

Next of Kin Details

Outdoors Experience Navigation: You will be expected to demonstrate competency using map and compass as well as show sound skills in route finding and general hill craft before being considered for training.

Please provide details of

Medical/First Aid Experience A basic first aid qualification is a prerequisite of membership. You are expected to obtain one within six months of acceptance of this membership application if you have not done so already.

Driving Licence

Having a full driving licence and suitable transport to attend incidents is preferred however, applicants can still apply as long as they have other firm arrangements available.

As part of the application we need to verify the details of your driving licence. We require the use of a temporary security code to allow us to access the DVLA website as detailed below:

To do this you will need the following information:
  • Driving Licence Number
  • National Insurance Number
  • Postcode of address on your Driving Licence

Declaration of Criminal Record

(Incl. Fitness to Practice declaration for Health Professionals)

Exmoor Search & Rescue Team (ESRT) requires all applicants to disclose certain information on any previous criminal record that they may hold. The information disclosed on the forms will be treated with the strictest confidence and will only be seen by those officers directly involved with the membership and training process.

A person’s criminal record will not, in itself, debar that person from being allowed to become a full Team Member. Suitable applicants will not be refused membership because of offences which are not relevant to, and do not place them at or make them a risk in, the role of a full Team Member.

All cases will be examined on an individual basis and will take the following into consideration:
  • Whether the conviction is relevant to the position applied for.
  • The seriousness of any offence revealed.
  • The age of the applicant at the time of the offence(s).
  • The length of time since the offence(s) occurred.
  • Whether the applicant has a pattern of offending behaviour.
  • The circumstances surrounding the offence(s), and the explanation(s) offered by the person concerned.
  • Whether the applicant's circumstances have changed since the offending behaviour.

ESRT believe that the service we provide, in the provision of medical assistance to often vulnerable persons, is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and therefore applicants are required to declare any convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings that are not protected (i.e. that are not filtered out) as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013).

For further information on filtering please refer to the DBS website.

It is important that applicants understand that failure to disclose all convictions, cautions, reprimands or final warnings that are not protected could result in disciplinary proceedings or dismissal from the Team.

We require details of any conviction, caution, reprimand or a warning which has been recorded on a police central record, (includes ‘spent’ and ‘unspent’ convictions) or has any information been held locally by police forces, including police enquiries undertaken following allegations made against you, but excluding parking offences, that are grounds to be considered relevant? This also includes any information that may be held on the DBS’s children and adults barred list.

Confirmation and Submission

I agree to the following:
  1. I wish to be considered for membership of Exmoor Search & Rescue Team.
  2. That the information provided in this form is true and accurate. Falsification may lead to any subsequent offers of membership being withdrawn.
  3. That I will at all times abide by the Team's governing documents and its rules and procedures.
  4. I will not purport to represent the Team or act on its behalf without the authority of the Team Leadership / executive committee.
  5. Whilst wearing Team kit, I will act in a manner suitable for a member of a Mountain Rescue Team.
  6. That Exmoor Search & Rescue Team may process my personal information provided in this form and if applicable during the course of my membership, in line with current data protection legislation.
  7. I recognise that there may be occasions when the work may involve an element of danger to participants.
  8. I confirm that I have read the following policy extracts available here.
    1. Health and safety/ Risk Assessment statement
    2. Equality / Recruitment of Ex-criminals/ Data Protection and Safe storage policies
    3. DBS Records Check / Police Vetting
    4. Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy
    5. Data Protection Notice
  9. I understand my name and date of application will be held on record for future reference, however all other personal details will be deleted once an application process/team member position has finished (whichever is sooner) for GDPR compliance.

Use of Image

During the course of operational incidents, training events, public and social events your image may be recorded in either photographic or video form.

We hold these images on a data bank maintained by ESRT and may be used in publications or displays illustrating the work of the team. However, these images will not be passed to organisations for marketing or sales purposes without your consent.

Thank you for your submission to join Exmoor Search & Rescue as a trainee. We will review your application and get back to you. Please do be patient with us, we will respond as quickly as we can!
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