Four Dartmoor Rescue Group teams, based in Okehampton, Tavistock, Ashburton and Plymouth have received five Defenders between them, with a sixth vehicle going to Exmoor Search and Rescue, sourced from surplus stock belonging to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
The vehicles were formally handed-over during the weekend of 14 and 15 November, and were immediately put into action, taking part in a joint search, extraction and treatment training exercise in the Pew Tor and Cox Tor areas.
Through a long history of supporting the emergency services, Defender and its Series predecessors hold a deep connection with mountain rescue teams. Their ability to cross wild and remote terrain and then safely extract injured casualties and the rescue crew has made these vehicles invaluable in this role. With the forthcoming demise of Defender, at least one mountain rescue team has expressed concern regarding the vehicles' replacement. The current model is ideal for modification and adaption, but what of the next generation? It may well be that many other mountain rescue teams will have to rely on refurbished, secondhand Defenders for some time to come.
You can find out more about the work of all of Britain's Mountain Rescue Teams on: mountain.rescue.org.uk