Kathmandu rescue trip for Hemel Hempstead duo

SARAID duo Dave Audley (top) and Simon Woodmore (far right)

SARAID duo Dave Audley (top) and Simon Woodmore (far right)

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A Hemel Hempstead duo have headed thousands of miles across the world to Kathmandu this week, as part of the earthquake relief efforts.

Dave Audley, a 31-year-old electrician, and paramedic Simon Woodmore have flown to the Nepalese capital following Saturday’s earthquake which killed over 5,000 people and left more than 6,500 injured.

SARAID volunteer Dave Audley

SARAID volunteer Dave Audley

They are both part of 15-strong team of fully trained rescue technicians from Search And Rescue Assistance in Disasters (SARAID).

The duo told The Express that they both got involved in the charity to give something back. Mr Woodmore wanted to put his paramedic skills to good use while Mr Audley wanted something more than the 9-5.

Both men underwent 18 months of training before heading to Kathmandu.

The SARAID team have set up a Base of Operations one block east of the city’s main airport.

“Urban Search and Rescue is a specialist form of rescue work usually occurring after an earthquake. Team members have to search through potentially hundreds of damaged and collapsed buildings, searching for survivors and recovering them to safety using a variety of technical skills, teamwork and specialist equipment.”

A SARAID spokesman

From there, they are being tasked by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to search areas of the city and outlaying towns and villages.

They travelled with 1.5 tonnes of the latest rescue equipment, including sound and vibration detection equipment, as well as specialised search cameras, to help locate victims trapped under buildings.

Their pack also includes cutting equipment and big drills to help tunnel into collapsed buildings to rescue victims, stretchers and medical kits, ropes, generators, tents, and satellite communications, plus their own food to ensure they aren’t a strain on local resources in Nepal.

A spokesman for SARAID added: “Both Simon and Dave have been training with us one weekend per month for about three years.

“Our charity is staffed entirely by volunteers and funded solely by public donations. SARAID is on call 365 days a year, always ready to provide trained search and rescue personnel, free of charge to any country in need of assistance

“Urban Search and Rescue is a specialist form of rescue work usually occurring after an earthquake. Team members have to search through potentially hundreds of damaged and collapsed buildings, searching for survivors and recovering them to safety using a variety of technical skills, teamwork and specialist equipment.”

To support SARAID’s work visit the website here.