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Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue

Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR) is a registered charitable lowland search and rescue team based in Berkshire, United Kingdom and provides support functions (primarily search and rescue) to Thames Valley Police and the emergency planning departments of various local authorities in Berkshire. In common with most UK SAR teams, BLSAR members are all volunteers.[1][2][3][4][5]

Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR)
Founded1980 (1980)
TypeRegistered charity
Registration no.1046861
Area served
Berkshire, England
Key people
Chairman: Kris Manning

Secretary: Vicky Dobson

Treasurer: Dane Salter

BLSAR was formally called SEBEV, the original meaning of SEBEV was South East Berkshire Emergency Volunteers, however the full title was dropped in 1994 and the team was then known simply as SEBEV Search and Rescue (or sometimes by the media as Berkshire Search and Rescue) in order to better reflect their role. In 2011 SEBEV changed its name again to Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR).[6]



The organisation was originally set up in 1980 by John Cowling as a Civil Defence volunteer team to provide support for the local authorities and the statutory emergency services during civil emergencies as a category one responder, support organisation (CCA 2004).[6][7][8] At the time its membership consisted of mainly council employees who met once a month for basic training in such things as message handling, logging and plotting and map reading.[9]

In 1981, BLSAR acquired its own headquarters, an ex-street cleansing depot, in one of the local housing estates which was redesigned and redecorated as a training area with communications facilities. Gradually the council staff left and replacement volunteers came from friends. Over a period of time they became entirely composed of non local authority staff, with the exception of the borough's Emergency Planning Liaison Officer. In 1984 the team moved from their single room premises into Easthampstead Park in Wokingham, taking over the basement area already used by the government as a bomb shelter[9] BLSAR moved out of the premises in 2018 and are now based at the old Arborfield Garrison site.[citation needed]

BLSAR members meet once a week to undertake training as well as training weekends, at home and away.[9]

In 1995, its primary function changed to providing lowland search and rescue support for Berkshire. The team, based at Easthampstead Park Conference Centre in Wokingham, Berkshire is available 24 hours a day to search for missing persons. BLSAR also assists other SAR teams in neighbouring counties, when needed. The team has its own fully equipped incident control vehicle and an incident support vehicle plus all equipment necessary for rescue and first aid purposes.[10]

BLSAR meets weekly for training in such subjects as search techniques. communications, navigation, first aid, including use of Automatic External Defibrillators,[11] rescue techniques, team building, navigation amongst other subjects.[12]

BLSAR is a member team of ALSAR the Association of Lowland Search and Rescue[13] and is mentioned in the Search and Rescue Framework for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[14]

Fundraising and EventsEdit

Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue (BLSAR) is funded purely by its own fundraising efforts, local community events and occasional grants or donations.[6]

BLSAR provides first aid, marshals and stewards for local events such as carnivals, music festivals, sports activities and firework displays.[15]


  1. ^ a b Charity Commission (March 2009). "1046861 - South East Berks Emergency Volunteers". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  2. ^ Thames Valley Police (n.d.). "Useful links". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  3. ^ Bracknell Forest Council (n.d.). "Organisation Details". Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  4. ^ Thames Valley Police; et al. (January 2006). "Berkshire Major Incident Protocol" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  5. ^ West Berkshire Council; et al. (October 2004). "Planning For Disasters In Berkshire" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  6. ^ a b c SEBEV Search and Rescue (2011). "About SEBEV Search and Rescue". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  7. ^ Reading Borough Council (November 2007). "Flood Plan - Fluvial/Rivers & Pluvial/Drains" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-01-13.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Parliament of the United Kingdom (February 2003). "Flooding (Thames Valley)". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  9. ^ a b c SEBEV (n.d.). "History and Development of SEBEV". Retrieved 2010-01-13.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ SEBEV Search & Rescue (December 2008). "SEBEV Search & Rescue". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  11. ^ Bradley, Robert (December 2009). "SEBEV trains its members in AED use". Archived from the original on 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  12. ^ SEBEV - Search and Rescue Team (Berkshire) (2009). "Training". Archived from the original on November 29, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  13. ^ Association of Lowland Search and Rescue (n.d.). "Member Units". Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  14. ^ Queen’s Printer and Controller (April 2008). "Search and Rescue Framework for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
  15. ^ SEBEV - Berkshire Search and Rescue Team (2009). "Event Services". Retrieved 2010-01-13.[dead link]

External linksEdit