A little about us
Wessex 4×4 Response is a Registered Charity comprising unpaid volunteers dedicated to providing emergency logistics for the Category 1 & 2 organisations, in support of our communities. We operate within the Avon & Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire & Swindon Police forces’ areas. Our liaison team is active within the Local Resilience Forum in each force area and we can also support other regions under mutual aid.
Through the use of our volunteers’ own 4×4 vehicles, we can provide those logistics regardless of weather, ground conditions and location. We have included some examples below.
All of our Responders are unpaid volunteers, who are giving up their time to support their community. They are all subject to enhanced DBS checks at regular intervals, and will have gone through a variety of training courses based on their role. They will also bring a huge variety of experiences and skills from their day jobs and their previous experiences.
They will be driving their own vehicles, with a variety of vehicles in use ranging from the latest vehicles with only a few thousand miles on the clock to older vehicles that have driven the world.
Depending on the scale of the incident, we may deploy bronze or silver leaders to the incident, or embed liaison advisors into your operational cell to provide a live link between your need and our operations.
If the scale and type of incident is appropriate, we can also deploy our Incident Support Unit trailers to provide onsite command and control facilities, as well as responder welfare.
As all of our responders are unpaid volunteers, when the alarm goes, they will almost certainly be in the middle of their normal life. We are not a blue light service, so our responders will typically take a few minutes to change clothes, grab kit, make a flask of tea, and ensure the children have been handed off to someone else before they get moving.
Our record is 6 minutes from first contact with our control team, raising the job, getting availability, tasking responders to the first vehicle marking as en-route, but is more typically around 20-30 minutes.
- SAR – This usually involves typically two vehicles, capable of carrying at least 4 search technicians, their kit and potentially a search dog as well. This maximises the use of qualified search technicians for search roles and allows for optimal positioning of the search rvp while minimising the wasted steps and time “commuting” to the start of a search area.
- SAR – A vehicle can also support teams with ‘vehicle based’ searching, enabling the SAR team to clear a larger area quickly, freeing up resources for the more detailed search of targeted areas.
- SAR – Vehicles can also be used as blocks to provide safety support to a search team who may need to search a verge at the side of a road.
- Collecting staff for their shift during severe weather – Some organisations will ask us to transport huge numbers of staff to all arrive at the same time at their standard shift change. This is often unachievable, so you should consider staggering your shift change in this scenario to be able to get a more efficient use of resources.
- Transporting staff on their shift during severe weather, such as district nurses, on-call doctors or police officers.
- Bottled water delivery during outages
- Transport of equipment for rest centres
- Towing of decontamination trailers
- Welfare checks during extended power outages
- Provide transport to emergency planning officers to enable them to fully assess an evolving situation.
The history of Wessex 4x4 Response
From four men in a pub in 2002 to a national charity.
From four men in a pub to a national charity, Wessex 4×4 Response has had an incredible journey over the past 2 decades. It all started with a vision to utilise the capabilities of 4×4 vehicles and their owners to provide essential support during emergencies and adverse weather conditions.
The concept of Wessex 4×4 Response began to take shape when the organization’s founder, with previous experience as a Special Constabulary Section Officer and a Town Councillor, realised the need for a network of “friendly” 4×4 owners who could lend their vehicles in times of crisis. Maintaining a dedicated fleet of 4×4 vehicles was not cost-effective for emergency services, so the idea of harnessing the power of willing volunteers with off-road capable vehicles emerged.
In September 2002, during a visit to the Land Rover show in Peterborough, a chance encounter with an organisation called “4×4 Response” sparked the inspiration to establish a similar team in Somerset. With enthusiasm and determination, the founder emailed the Emergency Planning Officer in Taunton to gauge interest and seek support for setting up a teams