SE4x4R 10yr Anniversary
South East 4x4 Response (SE4x4R) is proudly celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Formed as a member of the National 4x4 Response organisation, SE4x4R was originally called South East England 4x4 Response (SEE4x4R) covering Kent, Surrey and Sussex ,the group was formed by like-minded people from local off road clubs that wanted to make a difference to their communities. With a constitution signed in June 2008 they were ready for the up and coming winter season focusing on assisting various agencies and emergency services in time of flooding or other poor weather.
SE4x4R assists its partners by providing logistics, equipment and support during adverse weather with a focus on the winter months due to the counties roads struggling with snow and floods; Working directly with blue light agencies, 1st responders, councils, Kent hospitals and supporting many charities, plus the odd unusual requests; for example our members were once asked to guard a private plane that had to perform an emergency landing in a farmer’s field.
Callouts vary depending on the weather, the event, the type of emergency or what is needed on the day. Notable callouts and events include, Isle of white festival – SE4x4R is not a recovery organisation but we have the equipment to do so, as such several of our members provided two days assisting drivers that were stranded due to extremely wet weather; Yalding floods – the groups longest deployment of six weeks supporting emergency services with logistics, delivering food and personnel through flooded roads; Operation Stack providing humanitarian aid to stranded lorry drivers; Storms - clearing trees; and transporting key medical staff to hospital or patients at home during snow or flooding.
The last 10 years SE4x4R has evolved and grown from the initial 20+ members to averaging 100 for the past several years, our youngest member being 18 and our oldest over 60. Four of the founding members are still with SE4x4R and many are long serving members of between 5-10 years.
In 2011 the three counties separated as the group grew and each formed their respective response groups with SEE4x4R being dropped in favour of South East 4x4 Response for Kent.
In 2016 SE4x4R became a registered charity in England (1168367) with the stated aim “To preserve and protect human life and property, in particular but not exclusively by providing equipment, vehicles and other resources to offer support in adverse conditions”.
In 2017 SE4x4R were granted policing powers under Section 38 of the new Policing and Crime Act – The first of its kind in the UK. From the beginning Kent Police were keen to work with SE4x4R providing support with vetting and access to their training facilities. This new closer relationship and policing powers formally enabled SE4x4R responders to direct traffic on Kent’s roads to deal with incidents such as fallen trees, broken down vehicles, vehicles trapped in adverse weather conditions or other incidents freeing up Kent Police resources.
In 2017 SE4x4R also started a project to design and build a county wide digital radio network by sourcing radios and installing repeaters across Kent. Although this is still on-going big improvements have been made as previously the group relied on low power CB and PMR radios for many years, communications had limited distance or suffered poor quality and were severely impacting the group’s ability to operate effectively.
About South East 4x4 Response:
South East 4x4 Response is a 4x4 voluntary response and logistics organisation. A registered charity in England (1168367) that operates 24hrs a day, 365 days a year with a controller on duty 24hrs a day who will coordinate with the members based on callout type, location and number/type of vehicles required.
SE4x4R are proud to be part of the Kent Voluntary Sector Emergency Group (KVSEG) working closely with Kent Police (KP) and Kent Search and Rescue (KSAR) who provide us with valuable resources and enable the group to perform at the level they require.
With around 100 members, a full member supporting with their 4x4 vehicle, or a support member that provides valuable support to full members and running of the group. Annual membership contributes to insurance, a SE4x4R introduction pack, Hi Vis Jacket, ID Card and costs to cover the admin for membership setup. All members are required to pass Police vetting, vehicle readiness check and attend several days in house and external training covering, but not limited to, navigation, basic first aid, digital mapping, process/procedures, road safety and Road incident management.
South East 4x4 Response members are dedicated to volunteering to support the communities of Kent.