Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs is a voluntary organisation that provides qualified search teams with search dogs to help find vulnerable missing people. Working with emergency services across the county, they are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Search and rescue dog handler Kev Saunders and his search dog Zak are part of the team that helps to save lives every day. Kev was recently awarded MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for his work and dedication to search and rescue in Hampshire.
To support them and say thank you for their fantastic work, Armorgard has donated some TrekDror units to help fit-out their new Incident Support Vehicle. This helps the team to organise and secure their equipment, whilst making it easily accessible when a quick response is critical.
We caught up with Kev to talk about his heroic work...
- Please give us a summary of the amazing work you do with Zak.
Hampshire Search & Rescue Dogs is a voluntary team set up to train and deploy specialist search dogs to assist the police in high risk missing person searches. Search dog Zak is one of the team’s operational search dogs.
- How much of your time is spent in your van?
Our new Incident Support Vehicle has only been with us a short while - it has already been busy although we haven't even finished building it yet! This year we have had 90 callouts to date, so we anticipate the vehicle named Petra will see plenty of use.
- Who uses the van – just yourself or is it shared with other trainers?
Petra will see use by many of the Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs team over the coming years. Whilst primarily based in Romsey, it will be a huge asset to the whole county.
- How will these TrekDrors help you when you’re doing your job?
The Armorgard TrekDrors have been a very welcome addition to the vehicle, allowing us to lock away some of our equipment whilst not being used on deployments but also have it nearby when needed.
- How important is having an efficient storage solution inside your van when you’re on a time sensitive search?
For many years, I have used my personal vehicle to deploy. This usually meant moving kit, equipment and Zak into the vehicle before setting off - which could be a life or death delay. To have everything locked in the Incident Support Vehicle and ready to go will make a huge difference to us.
- Have you or other trainers ever experienced equipment theft? Are you worried about this issue?
We carry a lot of expensive equipment with us. Buying this equipment takes lots of fundraising, so losing any to theft would really affect our charity. Unfortunately, this has happened before meaning hundreds of pounds lost.
- What has been your best experience doing your job?
Zak is the true hero and my most precious asset. Only a few months ago, he saved the life of an elderly gentleman late one evening. With bad weather closing in, Zak made the find that saved a life. I'm extremely proud of him and our team.
We are so thankful for the kind donation from Armorgard. You will help us save lives.
We would like to say a huge thank you to Kev Saunders for taking the time to answer our questions and the team at Armorgard are delighted that the TrekDrors will help the team with their fantastic work.
Find out more about Hampshire Search and Rescue Dogs here: http://hsardogs.org.uk/.
Discover the Armorgard TrekDrors: https://www.armorgard.co.uk/prod/trekdror.