Antigua & Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) Membership Drive
09 Mar 2016
Dear Falmouth Harbour/English Harbour community member,
As you may be aware, ABSAR has been providing Search and Rescue (SAR) services for Antigua and Barbuda since 1998. It has grown substantially over the years with the addition of firefighting services as well as extensive medical services. We currently have two rescue boats, a medic station, two emergency response vehicles and a fire response vehicle. In order to increase our SAR capabilities, we have expanded VHF coverage for the entire island of Antigua and we are in the process of establishing a new repeater that will extend our coverage north all the way to Barbuda. We monitor VHF Channel 16 as well as our emergency telephone line, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
One of the challenges that we are now faced with is a severe shortage of volunteers. There is a tremendous amount of work involved in keeping our operations going. The volunteers required to keep the above services available to the community include medically trained personnel to run the medic station and for ambulance response, trained boat drivers, navigators and crew members, trained firefighters, fundraisers, administrative volunteers, maintenance volunteers, communications personnel, volunteer training coordinators….the list goes on. Due to a lack of volunteers, all of these responsibilities are currently falling on the shoulders of a few dedicated volunteers who are currently unable to keep up.
We, as the Directors of ABSAR, are currently reviewing our options and are trying to devise a plan going forward. Some of the changes being discussed range from decreasing our services and eliminating assets, to entirely reverting back to our original mission of solely providing Search and Rescue services. This would obviously have a significant impact on our local community here in English and Falmouth Harbours.
With our increased range of services along with our increased number of callouts and patients each year, we have had to increase our fundraising efforts significantly. Fundraising continues to be one of our biggest challenges, especially considering our shortage of volunteers. Each event that we host requires an extensive amount of man-hours which we just don’t have anymore. In order to establish and maintain a steady income that will ensure the continuation of our current services, we are initiating an “ABSAR Membership” program. If the majority of our local community embraces the membership program, it is our goal to continue all existing services uninterrupted.
As we receive no government funding, keeping ABSAR open is truly a community effort. Please click here to download “ABSAR Membership” application form. If you’d like to become an ABSAR volunteer, please stop by our medic station to fill out our volunteer application form. We hope that you will be able to assist us by joining our membership or in becoming an ABSAR volunteer or both, so that we can continue to provide SAR, medical and firefighting services to our local community….“so that others may live”.