A good week for Foyle Search and Rescue!

Dr Ed Rooney, Hilary Parlke and Brendan Bonner from the Public Heath Agency pictured presenting two jet skis to Paddy Wilson and Amy Coll and volunteers from the organisation.
Dr Ed Rooney, Hilary Parlke and Brendan Bonner from the Public Heath Agency pictured presenting two jet skis to Paddy Wilson and Amy Coll and volunteers from the organisation.

Foyle Search and Rescue were presented with a raft of new equipment, valued at £25,000 on Friday.

It is hoped the equipment will increase their lifesaving efforts by reducing response time.

The group, often referred to as Derry’s fourth emergency service, are also set to feature in a new BBC documentary.

The equipment includes two jet-skis, dry suits for all team members and a defibrilator.

The funding was provided by the Public Health Agency (PHA) in association with The Clear Project, Strabane. The Clear Project is part of ‘Protect Life’ the Northern Ireland Suicide Prevention Strategy which seeks to reduce Northern Irish suicide rates.

Brendan Bonner, head of health improvement at the PHA, said: “We already provide the organisation with core funding of £25,000 a year but we are delighted to inject this capital funding. This is a vote of confidence in the volunteers without which the organisation could not exist. It shows we appreciate what they do.

“They told us the equipment they needed and we have now got it to them. It will help them improve the service and therefore save more lives.

“It is good news for FSR and for any family who has a relative go into the water.”

The award of £27,000 will help reduce the length of time Emergency Response Teams require to reach the water in the event of an emergency call.

Previously, members of the emergency teams had been sharing dry suits and had to go to FSR headquarters in Prehen before reaching the water.

“The fact they will all now have their own dry suits and boots, thanks to the Public Health Agency, means that response time has been reduced thereby hopefully increasing the number of lives saved,” said Amy Coll funding and administration officer FSR. “It will make a massive difference to the teams’ response time.”

Their work is to be the focus of a BBC One Northern Ireland observational documentary, ‘Life Patrol: On The Banks Of The Foyle,’ to be shown on Monday, June 11 at 10.35pm.

The BBC secured access to the charity’s work as they patrol the River Foyle, the river banks and shoreline at the frontline of suicide prevention in the city. Filmed during the Christmas/New Year period of 2011/12, the one-hour documentary brings viewers out on patrol with the volunteers who are trained in suicide intervention.