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Meet the lollipop lady who can save you from flooding
12:00pm Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
LOLLIPOP lady Karen Edwards could save your life one day.
The 54-year-old grandmother of six is among 12 people who have been trained to rescue people from floods.
On Saturday members of Oxfordshire Lowland Search and Rescue (OXSAR) had a top-up training session at Port Meadow, Oxford.
The volunteers were learning skills such as “defensive” and “aggressive” swimming, throwing a lifeline and ferrying people across fast-flowing waters in a life raft.
Mrs Edwards, of Long Crendon, near Thame, said her job allows her time to volunteer.
She said: “I just like helping people. My mother has dementia, and it is about knowing that there is somebody out there if your family needs them. “Having dementia in the family, it’s also nice to think that if it ever comes to me there will be someone out there who could help me.”
She has been volunteering with OXSAR since it was created in 2008.
The group’s main line of duty is helping the police find missing people on land.
There are about 30 OXSAR volunteers who agree to drop whatever they are doing day or night to help the police anywhere in the Thames Valley.
On May 20 this year, the group signed a memorandum of understanding with Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue to guarantee its assistance if there are serious floods.
That means if the fire service asks the volunteers to be on call, they cannot drink alcohol and will have to be able to drop everything to get to emergencies.
Mrs Edwards added: “On Christmas Day, everybody knows if their phone goes, there had better be somebody else in the house who knows how to cook the turkey.”
The group used a £9,980 Big Lottery Fund grant to buy dry suits, helmets, boots, personal floatation devices and an eight-person rescue raft.
Last weekend they were learning how to use the raft to ferry people across fast-flowing water.
They also practised “defensive swimming” which means lying on your back with your feet towards the current and letting the river take you towards the bank.
Aggressive swimming is about actively trying to get out of the way of a boat or a fallen tree in your path.
The group started training at 10.30am and carried on for three hours. Mrs Edwards said: “It wasn’t a long day, but it is intense.”
s OXSAR is funded by donations. To donate text OXSR05 £5 to give £5 or OXSR05 £10 to give £10 to 70070.
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