Meet the man who tracks down missing people in Staffordshire and brings them home
8th November 2023
Former Navy officer Adrian Poole is a man on a mission.
He spends his spare time search for missing, and in most cases, vulnerable people in Staffordshire to reunite them, safe and well, with their families.
As a volunteer with the Staffordshire Search and Rescue Team (SSART) the 34-year-old Severn Trent employee from Tamworth, has spent more than a decade either training its members or leading on life-saving operations.
He is responsible for around 60 highly skilled nationally trained Lowland Rescue volunteers who give up a lot of their own valuable time to provide a vital service to the emergency services in Staffordshire.
“Mostly, we are used by the police for high risk missing people, primarily those with dementia or individuals who are despondent and suicidal,” said Adrian. “Our ultimate goal is to find these people and bring them home to their families.”
Another responsibility of the SSART is reacting to extreme weather conditions, such as the recent storms, by devising weather action plans and assisting fire and ambulance crews in water rescue operations.
Adrian who works within Water Treatment Capital Delivery at Severn Trent first became involved with SSART when he was a navigation officer in the merchant navy. He donated his time and used his skills to help train the volunteers, before becoming an operational team member in 2016.
He said: “Staffordshire Search and Rescue became my second family, I got to know the volunteers and those who run it very well. It was an easy decision to become involved because I believe in their cause, which is all about saving lives.
“My role is the search planner and it’s my responsibility to understand everything about the operation such as the condition and category of the missing person, the circumstances that have led to the event, previous history and what further investigation is needed to formulate a search plan.
“Based on all the information, I then need to assess what resources I need to fulfil the task such as air scenting dogs, drones, water search teams or deploying the police helicopters. Once that is decided, I then must work out where I want them to search.”
Speed is of the essence for Adrian, as it needs to take no longer than 30 minutes from receiving the distress call to actioning the first deployment.
“It is a very stressful environment, there are a lot of moving parts,” added Adrian. “But I’ve been able to use my experience in the Navy, as well as my more recent work at Severn Trent, to successful carry out this role.
“In this position with the SSART, I have adopted the four core values of Severn Trent, which is taking pride, having courage, embracing curiosity and showing care. Through my job in project management, I’ve also learnt the importance of being a team player and being there for others, all of which helps me lead this incredible team of volunteers.”
Matt Wall, Severn Trent’s Water Treatment Capital Delivery Business Lead, said: “The SSART is an incredibly important service to the Staffordshire community, provided by highly skilled, dedicated volunteers.
“It is fantastic that Adrian can use the skills developed across his career to provide a pivotal role volunteering for the SSART. He’s a role model of the Severn Trent values, showing real care and pride for his local community. Severn Trent is a big believer in volunteering, and we encourage and empower all employees to take part, with two days of volunteering leave available a year.”
As well as carrying out search and rescue operations, members are also responsible for fundraising, as SSART is entirely funded through donations from the public and local businesses.
As well as donations, SSART is always on the look-out for more volunteers to play missing people during training exercises. Anyone interested in helping SSART can donate either money or their time by visiting https://ssart.org