Lincolnshire Community Assistance Team (L-CAT) is a registered charity with group of fully trained volunteers who are called upon by the emergency services and local emergency planning departments to assist in a variety of incidents.
Specialising in 4x4 assisted rescues, L-CAT provides assistance to Lincolnshire's emergency services with sandbagging, evacuation and welfare checks, clearing roads following storm damage and using their 4x4s to retrieve stranded motorists.
On top of this, the team have also carrying out welfare checks and delivering food parcels to the county’s most vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as assisting Lincolnshire and Humberside Police in high risk missing person searches.
L-CAT also has a branch of Community First Responders (CFR), trained volunteers who are summoned to respond to urgent 999 medical calls ahead of an ambulance's arrival.
Now the charity is calling out for new members, with the aim of having members all across Lincolnshire so they can reach people in need at a moment's notice, no matter where they live in the county.
Trustee David Salkeld said: "Over the past few years our members have grown and we have more than 100 now - 60 with 4x4s - but about 18 months ago we had an incident in Spalding and as our members are mostly in Louth and the northern part of the county, it took more than an hour to reach them.
"We now have enough members where we could reach someone in 15 minutes, but we would like more members in the southern part of the county too."
Just some of the major incidents L-CAT has been called out to include assisting victims of the flooding in Wainfleet in 2019, helping emergency personnel to get around during the 'Beast from the East' storms and various vulnerable missing people.
L-CAT normally receives one or two calls for help each month, but David recalled one particularly hectic day back in February where the team were dealing with three calls at once:
"We had a call to help with the snow in the morning, then another to help with a missing person in Mablethorpe and the responders team were also juggling five or six welfare checks!
"But we covered everything because we had plenty of members in the right places, and it was brilliant."
L-CAT is looking to recruit more members in the south and south-west of the county, in particular Skegness, Boston, Sleaford, Grantham and possibly even Stamford.
To become a member of L-CAT's Community Assistance Team, applicants need to have a certain level of fitness as rescues could take place in all sorts of conditions, as well as a full enhanced adult and child DBS check. A knowledge of basic CPR is also required.
First Responders will also require an average level of fitness, as well as a full driving licence and available vehicle.
Potential 4x4 drivers will also need to take up L-CAT's 4×4 driver training before you can be deployed with your vehicle, as well as taking up annual refreshers at one of L-CAT's training grounds.
If you'd like to help out at L-CAT but wouldn't like to be involved in rescues, you can join the charity's fundraising team or take part in community events:
"There's room for everyone and if you have skills we can use, we will use you," David added.
To find out more about L-CAT, and to enquire about joining, visit https://l-cat.org/