What we do

It’s not just mountainous areas that need search and rescue teams. In an urban or rural area people go missing and get lost too. Regardless of the terrain, if a vulnerable person is missing then it is vital to their chances of survival that they are found quickly. When someone goes missing and the Police are informed, if appropriate we are called out. We are on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Within an hour and a half, we can have a mobile control unit set up, a search planner on the scene and trained searchers out on the ground looking for the vulnerable missing person.


In July 2015, Mrs B, an elderly lady suffering from dementia, was reported missing by her family. Her husband Brian was distraught as he’d returned home after going to buy a pint of milk to find the house empty. He phoned his daughter Jessica, who promptly alerted the police. (Remember you don’t have to wait 24 hours, as some people think, before reporting someone missing.) The police deployed OxSAR and within a couple of hours the incident unit was in place, and a planner was discussing possible scenarios with the police officer in charge. As well as foot teams, dog teams from neighboring counties and a helicopter were deployed. After a short overnight pause, the search continued the following morning. Mrs B was found in an area of uneven and rough terrain nearby, cold and a little shaken, but unharmed. Brian and the rest of her family were delighted that she was found after having nearly lost hope. (*)

If you would like to support our vital and often life-saving work, please see the donate page, as we are entirely funded by donations, from our sponsors and from the public. We also wouldn’t be able to do what we do without support from our families, friends and employers.

(*based on a real search)

You can watch a short video produced by O2 which shows what our team do:

Our current call-out statistics are shown at the bottom of the page, and include training exercises and live incidents. The time on the live stats is the total time the team has been training or deployed, it is not multiplied by the number of people present. These stats are updated in real time by the software we use to manage our call-out response.

Statistics from previous years are:

2016: 60 callouts

2015: 36 callouts

2014: 67 callouts

2013: 45 callouts

2012: 45 callouts

2011: 60 callouts

2010: 69 callouts

2009 (from June): 35 callouts

Total: 378 callouts (to May 2017)