Summary of ESRT policies

The key policies which outline expectations of behaviours from both the team and trainees are summarised below. Full details of these policies are available, to successful applicants, via our online data repository.

Health and safety/ Risk Assessment statement

Mountain Rescue can be a strenuous, sometimes hazardous activity, frequently carried out under difficult conditions. Team Members have a duty of care to the casualty and their fellow Team Members. It remains the responsibility of every Trainee, Member, or Support Team Member to safe guard to the best of their ability, the welfare of, and prevention of, physical, sexual or emotional abuse of all children, elderly, disabled or otherwise vulnerable persons, with whom they come into contact, during their duties associated with the Team.

To minimise potentially dangerous situations you should tell the Team Leader or Medical Officer of any medical problems that could interfere with your performance during a Mountain Rescue activity. Should a medical problem develop during your membership you should inform the Team Leader or Medical Officer immediately. They may restrict you from performing certain Mountain Rescue activities based on this information. If you have any doubts about your ability you are urged to seriously reconsider your application.

It is the responsibility of all volunteers to abide by regulations and procedures laid down for their health and safety. It is a condition of membership that they take reasonable care to safeguard their health and safety and that of other persons who may be affected by their actions. Volunteers who are aware of any condition, which may be dangerous or unsatisfactory, are to bring the matter to the attention of the Team Leader or the Executive Committee.

All injuries, however slight, must be reported to the Team Leader, Welfare Officer, or Training Officer, and must be entered in the accident book as soon as possible. Team risk assessments are available on the team’s online repository (paper copies on request) and are regularly reviewed and updated. Everyone involved with the Team should make themselves familiar with their content.

Equality and Recruitment of Persons with a Prior Conviction

ESRT are committed to providing equal opportunities to our membership (hill going, trainees, Support Team, trustees) and partners in an inclusive way, workers and service users, and to encouraging diversity.

We do not tolerate any unlawful or unfair discrimination and anyone found to be acting in a discriminatory manner will face disciplinary action which could include dismissal. Everyone has a duty to report unlawful or unfair discriminatory behaviour to a member of management. We actively promote equality of opportunity and require everyone to contribute towards achieving this objective.

We believe that treating people with dignity and respect is an important part of realising equal opportunities and diversity, and this policy should be read in conjunction with our harassment and bullying policy.

It is essential that all members of the Team behave with dignity, courtesy and respect and to act in a non-discriminatory manner at all times.

Data Protection and Safe storage policies

Exmoor Search & Rescue Team has a responsibility to ensure your personal information that we store is kept safe and secure.  This policy details how, when and why we store and use your personal data and adhere to the new GDPR.

This statement sets out the basis on which such information is held. We may make changes to this statement from time to time to reflect developments in the law.

The following data is stored by the team:

  • Contact Details: Name; address, email, telephone numbers
  • Next of kin
  • Occupation
  • Outdoor experience and qualifications (pertinent to mountain rescue)
  • Any fitness/medical condition that would have a bearing on mountain rescue activities
  • Details of driving licence
  • Any criminal record (including driving convictions)
  • Record of attendance and training
  • Record of equipment issued
  • Sort Code / Account Number –for repayment of expenses

Your information is held securely with the membership officer, medical officer and/or treasurer primarily in electronic format on password protected computers. No sensitive data can be held by team members. Records of attendance may also be held by relevant officers.

How we use this data

We use this data internally to manage your application, training and membership to the team. It allows us to:

  • Communicate – general team information, call-outs
  • Record initial training and ongoing professional development
  • Record equipment issued including sizes for inventory and future purchases

We can also use this data externally with third parties. This allows us to:

  • Make and process payments – through our bank
  • Carry out regulatory requirements – HM Revenue and Customs, insurance declarations
  • Bookings on courses

Our promise to you

  • We will always tell you what information we hold and how it is used
  • We will always keep your data safe and private
  • We will not sell your data
  • We will not pass your data to third parties unless directly related to mountain rescue activities (eg Police, Coroner or Mountain Rescue England & Wales)
  • We will give you ways to manage and update your account data and preferences
  • We will not keep this data for longer than necessary for its purpose

By consenting to our Data Protection Privacy notice you are giving permission for Exmoor SRT to process your personal data specifically for the purposes identified. You may request to see this information, correct it and withdraw consent at any time.

Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

Exmoor Search & Rescue Team (ESRT) makes a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognises the right of every individual to stay safe.  ESRT does not accept anyone under the age of eighteen in any class of membership (team, trainee, and supporter). However the team may expect to have dealings with children and vulnerable adults both during its operational activities and through talks and demonstrations given to such groups.  Furthermore, in an operational context some of the recipients of our services could be said to be vulnerable because they may need medical care or transportation to a place where they receive medical care and would therefore be considered vulnerable at that time.

ESRT has a professional duty to provide children and vulnerable adults with appropriate safety and protection and expects team members to protect the professional integrity of themselves and the organisation. All ESRT members (hill team, trainee, supporter) have a responsibility to follow the guidance laid out in the policy, and to pass on any welfare concerns using the required procedures. We expect all members to promote good practice by being an excellent role model, contribute to discussions about safeguarding and to positively involve people in developing safe practices.

In aiming to achieve these standards, ESRT requires that when dealing with children and vulnerable adults, and regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs, its members will:

  • Accept responsibility for their protection and treat their welfare and well-being as paramount.
  • Treat them with dignity and respect.
  • Respect personal privacy (including no photography/video without permission of a responsible adult).
  • Be sensitive to their needs.
  • Avoid any unnecessary physical contact. If this is unavoidable ensure another adult is present or within sight or hearing distance.
  • Avoid questionable activity e.g. rough or sexually provocative behaviour and inappropriate language.
  • Wherever possible avoid one-to-one situations or running events single-handed.
  • Challenge all unacceptable behaviour/language.
  • Not tolerate bullying.
  • Report immediately any allegation or suspicion of abuse to a member of the Team Leadership, Trustee or Chairman.

If the professional boundaries and/or policies are breached this could result in disciplinary procedures or enactment of the allegation management procedures.

In achieving our policy aims and being proactive, we have developed procedures related to the recruitment of Team Members and how allegations of child/vulnerable adult abuse should be dealt with. In light of this, we implement safe recruitment practices in checking the suitability of team members to work with children and vulnerable adults.

Allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and dealt with as soon as practicable, in line with the recognised Child/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy. The Executive Committee is also responsible for conducting any investigation and demonstrating the results if the child/vulnerable abuse is suspected to be committed by a member of the Team. Throughout this procedure, records will be maintained and kept securely and confidentially, separately from the Team member’s file.

DBS Records Check / Police vetting

Exmoor Search and Rescue Team is a recognised Police resource, therefore it is imperative that persons who are invited to join, wear the badge, and represent the Team are; recognised as being responsible members of the public, capable of upholding the law and protecting vulnerable persons.

The Team may request permission to carry out a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) check on you should they deem this necessary. This would not identify ‘minor’ or ‘traffic offences’ but would state whether you have been successfully prosecuted for sexual or violent crimes. The Executive Committee will not be informed of the specifics of any prosecution and any information given will be treated confidentially. Prior to becoming a full Team Member you may be required to go through Police vetting.

Information regarding the Teams’ policies on the recruitment of ex criminals, data protection and safe storage of data, and disclosures are all available upon request.

Applicants are required to complete this application form (which may lead to a subsequent induction) which contains explicit information about their past. These are required to be returned to the Membership Coordinator who manages the recruitment process.