Team of volunteers take helping emergency services in their stride
A team of volunteers is available to help emergency services and the vulnerable in all weathers. Reporter Lucy Greensmith meets them to find out more.
FLASHING lights and big 4x4s may seem like a man's world – but this response team are looking for new members – male, female and even children – and you don't even have to drive.
The Lincolnshire Community Assistance team – known as L-Cat, covers Grimsby, Louth, Barton, Boston and even Gainsborough and currently has 45 members on board.
During adverse weather, they help carers and hospital staff get to work, allow access for emergency services, get vital supplies to vulnerable people and assist with evacuations.
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And recently they assisted the police by driving in bad terrain searching for tragic dementia sufferer Marion Scott.
The 83-year-old was sadly found dead earlier this month near a hedgerow off a farm track in the Sixhills area, near Market Rasen, after going missing 12 days before.
The 4x4 team searched for four days and organised the public search.
L-Cat vice-chairman Greg Carter, of Louth, said: "Because we can cover more land quicker than the police on foot, we were called out to assist the search.
"We are high up in a 4x4, which makes it easier to search in ditches and the visual area as a whole.
"We organised the public search and there were more than 80 people.
"We also offered welfare services such as refreshments for the team and other volunteers.
"This was one of the biggest searches since we began as a team in September and Mrs Scott was unfortunately found in a ditch in an area where we weren't allowed to go."
L-Cat also has an animal section, allowing it to rescue people's pets during emergency circumstances.
Greg added: "We want to release the police and emergency resources by helping them out. We cover a vast area and anyone could join the team, no matter what hours they work – even if they are only available two hours a week, it would still be a help.
"You don't need a 4x4 or even be able to drive, because a passenger can assist a driver by being on the look-out. We have members as young as eight.
"Most people think 4x4 drivers are men who wear cowboy hats, but we don't want to be tarnished like that."
L-Cat even has a medical team, which is made up of emergency medical technicians, emergency first responders and first-aiders.
With these skills, they can assist in giving emergency first aid at the scene of an incident and they can also provide medical assistance.
Part of the medical team is Gary Donoghue, whose day job is working at Boston Hospital as part of an accident and emergency crew. He said: "This definitely keeps me busy. But it is about helping people and my job is to make sure the team is safe and my knowledge is there if my assistance is needed."
The team works by communicating on radio and Roger Damm organises this, as well as updating their website.
He said: "We use hand-held radios to communicate. And when a job comes in, we will distribute it to the nearest and most suitable member.
"Communication is paramount for this job."
The team assisted stranded motorists who struggled to get up Caistor Hill due to the snow yesterday at 1am. Also at 4am, they assisted two motorists stuck at Kelston, near Ludborough, because there was about 4ft of snow.
The group wants to thank Carr Lane Social Club, Grimsby, for letting it use the venue to meet once a month.
For more information or to join the team visit www.lincolnshirecat.co.uk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com