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No. 1 Driver Competence

There should be a consistent approach to the competence of drivers asked to operate within the remit of any 4X4R group. The following is the suggested minimum.
  1. Formal Assessment. Best practice amongst existing groups has identified the need for a formal assessment of each volunteer who will be assigned to support a user service (i.e. Called out). The list of assessment points below demonstrate that a Driver has skills over and above those tested in the standard DVLA test. It is a key point to prove to user services that the Driver has the competence to use the additional abilities of their vehicle. It is preferable that this assessment is carried out in a practical scenario by an agent of the group who is deemed to have sufficient skills. However where this is not possible a selection of pre-set questions can be used to test a driver’s knowledge. External training/certification organisations can be used (e.g BORDA). However the group should ensure that any external test meets all the requirements above as a minimum.
  2. Uneven Terrain. Ability to drive their vehicle over uneven terrain relevant to the local conditions in a safe manner demonstrating consideration of maintaining forward movement (i.e. not getting stuck!). Local conditions include consideration of terrain (e.g. mountainous, woodland, low-lying i.e. liable to flood, etc.) and the most likely scenarios for which the group may be mobilised.
  3. Self Safety & recovery. Awareness of their own vehicles’ safety and ability to be recovered if necessary
  4. Snow. Awareness of the additional requirements of driving in snow
  5. Deep water. Knowledge of wading limits of their vehicle and how to wade
  6. Own vehicle emergencies. Knowledge of dealing with own vehicle emergencies (e.g. engine fire, changing a wheel on soft ground)
  7. Navigation. Ability to navigate within the needs of operational requirements (i.e. standard road navigation against use of OS maps and compass)
  8. Assessment record. A record should be maintained for each driver in a consistent and readily retrievable format which demonstrates their assessment status.

No. 2 Vehicle Preparedness

Any vehicle likely to be deployed should be;
  1. Road legal. Road Legal (MoT, Tax, Vehicle condition, etc.)
  2. Appropriately insured. Have appropriate vehicle insurance for volunteer response activities
  3. Equipped with a fixed rear recovery point (A correctly fitted Towing ball is a minimum with Ball & Pin preferable)
  4. Equipped with a fixed front recovery point. Where practicable fixed front recovery point (may not be possible with all vehicles)
  5. Suitable for the likely passengers or load. Sufficient passenger seats (with suitable belts) and/or cargo carrying capacity to be of use to a User Service
  6. Fitted with Secure stowage of internal equipment
  7. Maintained while on call. All vehicles should be maintained by the drivers to meet the above requirements at all times when engaged in 4x4 Response activities.
  8. Identifiable with Vehicle ID. Vehicle identification stickers front and rear

No. 3 Equipment Carried

It is recommended that all vehicles have the following minimum equipment
  1. Radio transceiver. CB, PMR or other radio transceiver on compatible frequency with other deployed vehicles. This should be an independent form of communication i.e. does not rely upon an external network.
  2. Mobile phone with number known by Controller
  3. Notebook & pencil
  4. Identity card. 4x4 Response Group Identity Card
  5. Recovery kit. Recovery rope & shackles (suitable for vehicle)
  6. OS Maps. Relevant Ordnance Survey maps for operational area
  7. Blanket
  8. Toolkit
  9. Spade/shovel
  10. Torch
  11. First Aid kit (for personal use)
  12. PPE. Any specified Protective Equipment identified with the Health & Safety Standard.
  13. Secure stowage. All equipment carried must be stored in such a way as to not cause any risk of injury whilst driving on uneven terrain.

No. 4 Health & Safety

It is anticipated that all teams will have the following
  1. H&S Document. A formal written H&S document (policy) outlining their approach to ensuring the H&S of their volunteers
  2. Risk assessments. Documented risk assessments catering for the significant risks their volunteers are likely to encounter. These risk assessments should also defined the control and rules to be followed to reduce the risk.
  3. Risk assessment review. A process to review these risk assessments following each group activity (callout, exercise, etc) to confirm their continuing suitability or to identify and include improvements
  4. PPE. As a fall out from these assessments, all groups should define suitable PPE and ensure volunteers use it and keep it maintained.
  5. H&S information. A system in place for ensuring that all relevant H&S information is circulated, understood and followed including any defined H&S rules (from the group or user service.
  6. Rules compliance. A system/person for ensuring the rules issued are followed and reviewed regularly
  7. User requirements. A process for defining/understanding the H&S requirements of any user service.

No. 5 Incoming Call-out Management

All teams need to have a procedure in place to deal with incoming calls the following is recommennded.
  1. Primary contact number. A single primary contact telephone number which is made available to User Services for each operational area defined by the group. An operational area can be a county for a group covering more than one or it may be another form of geographical subdivision of a larger coverage area. Where this is the case smaller teams, of a member group, within those areas should independently meet the requirements.
  2. Secondary contact number. have, in addition to this primary number, at least one additional contact number that can be used as a back-up which is also known to the User Services.
  3. 24/7/52 availability. Be contactable via these numbers 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
  4. Controller. Have a facility whereby, following a contact via the above numbers, a designated individual (normally referred to as the Controller or their Deputy) will be able to respond appropriately to any request made by organising a suitable response. This may be an external supplier or agent (such as the local Emergency Planning Officer).
  5. Reply contact. Have the facility to advise the requesting User Service where it is not possible for the group to respond to the request, for whatever reason.
  6. Neighbouring 4X4R contact. have the facility to contact any neighbouring 4x4 Response groups (or teams within the same group*) to request additional assistance where it is not possible for a group to respond or where greater resources may be required than those available to the single group.

No.6 Volunteers Call-out Management

Teams should be able to deploy at short notice, to enable this it is recommended that they have the following
  1. 2 independent contact methods. Have at least 2 independent methods of making contact with their volunteers following a User Service Request (e.g. radio, mobile, user comms, RAYNET).
  2. Bulk contact method. Have a defined method of communicating with its volunteers which provides the initiator (Controller) with availability information as quickly as possible and should make contact with the majority of volunteers in order to gain that information. A recommendation is that one of these methods of communicating with volunteers is a bulk SMS text message service such as SMS-Responder.
  3. Member response procedure. Have defined procedure/policy which instructs the controller and volunteers how to respond when contacted.

No. 7 Communications

There should be a consistent approach to communications across 4X4R groups. Good communications have several benefits; they are a key tool in ensuring the health, safety and welfare of volunteers when operating in remote areas, they improve efficiency and operability and provide an essential link with the user service, finally they raise the ability of a group from a number of disparate vehicles into a coordinated team of much greater use to the community.
Best practice across existing groups has identified the following
  1. Communications policy/procedure - Have a formal communications policy/procedure.
  2. Controller to 'in-field' vehicle – A policy which defines the method of contact (e.g. mobile, CB, VHF, etc.), defined frequencies (if applicable) and frequency of contact (if not permanent i.e. radio) for welfare/update checks from and to the vehicle.
  3. Vehicle to vehicle – There should be a predefined method of contact (mobile, CB, PMR, UHF, VHF, hand signals, etc.) including how this is managed and any agreed frequencies.
  4. User services - Policy includes procedure for liaison between 'in-field' teams and the User Service Controller. It should cover the handling of possibly privilege information and how to respond to the media.
  5. Other 4x4 Response - The Policy should include details of any arrangements made for communications when working with neighbouring 4X4 Response Groups.
  6. Other agencies – The policy should provide information on how communications are established with organisations other than user groups (e.g. charities such as WRVS, St. Johns etc.)

No. 8 User Services

There should be a recognised list of User Services that the group is prepared to support. User services where formal contact and offer of assistance have been made should be marked. It is not necessary for a formal documented agreement to exist nor for actual instances (call-outs) to have taken place. A suggested list is below
  1. Local Police Force or Constabulary
  2. Local Fire and Rescue Authority
  3. Local Ambulance Trust or Service
  4. Local and National Health Authority
  5. County & District Council Emergency Planning Departments
  6. British Red Cross Society
  7. St John Ambulance Brigade or St Andrew's Ambulance Association
  8. Women's Royal Voluntary Service
  9. Salvation Army
  10. Gov. Depts. - Any Government Departments (DEFRA, EA, HSE, Home office) in circumstances that lead to the alleviation of suffering, prevention of injury, loss of life or severe damage to property.
  11. HM Coastguard
  12. Local Search and Rescue teams (Cave, Mountain Rescue etc)
  13. RNLI
  14. First Responder
  15. RSPCA or SSPCA, or other animal welfare groups as appropriate
  16. Utility Services - in circumstances which lead to the alleviation of suffering, prevention of injury, loss of life or severe damage to property.

No. 9 Group Management & Administration

It is hoped that all groups offering a 4X4R service would want to project a professional image to the user services. Several key points have been identified below to assist with the effective management of the group.
  1. Structured, defined committee - with all key roles identified and clear responsibilities identified. A formal process is in place for the selection/reselection of committee members and distribution of voting rights.
  2. Written constitution - A formal written constitution or other form of policy document e.g. memorandums and articles, etc
  3. Public Liability insurance - to cover activities when not covered by user service
  4. User service insurance - A formal agreement on insurance cover when supporting a user service
  5. Specific bank account - A separate bank account specific for the group with defined controls (i.e. official signatories, Treasurer and accounts). This account is separated from any main account held by a parent club such as Land Rover Owners Club or General Green Lane Club.
  6. Privileged information Procedure - Procedure for handling of privileged information (e.g. discrete contact number not available to the public for use during emergencies)
  7. Policy for recruiting - Formal publicity policy for recruiting volunteers
  8. Training and exercise plans – formal written plans for training, assessment and regular exercises.
  9. Young and vulnerable persons - Procedure for working with young and vulnerable persons . Important if the group supports charity events, scouts etc.
  10. Any marques of 4x4 - A formal policy which invites membership to drivers of any marques of 4x4
  11. 4x4 response service is main aim - The constitution of the group states that the provision of a 4x4 response service is the main aim of the group rather than a sub-set of a Owners club or Greenlane club
  12. Protection of the environment - The Constitution of the group states its aim to support the protection of the environment, respect the countryside and rights of way and operate within a defined code of conduct.
  13. Volunteer vetting - Procedure for volunteer vetting in line with any guidelines determined by local user bodies.
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