Carl Hamilton


Carl Hamilton

Carl Hamilton has been a member of Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team for 32 years having joined the team in 1985 and has been involved in hundreds of incidents including the major incident response to the Lockerbie air disaster which lasted for three weeks.  During this time his involvement in Mountain Rescue has extended to Team, Regional and National level.   He has served the Team in many different roles including Equipment Officer, Members Rep, Deputy Leader and Team Leader. 

He has extensive knowledge and experience of co-ordinating and managing Search and Rescue incidents, including co-ordinating multi-agency involvement.  He is a qualified Water First Responder and also qualified as an advanced mountain rescue casualty carer (then known as MR Paramedic) in 1990 and maintained this qualification, re-certifying every two years, until 2003. 

He is a Trustee and Director of the Centre for Search Research (TCSR), a UK based registered charity. He has presented at conferences and teaches courses on all aspects of search skills and search management both in the UK and overseas to organisations including Coastguard, Police/Garda, Fire and Rescue, Civil Defence, Red Cross and Mountain Rescue.  He has recently been involved in a major program of training for Irish Civil Defence and Irish Coast Guard personnel in all aspects of missing persons search and search management.  Carl is currently working with TCSR colleagues and in collaboration with Newcastle University, on a major research project to establish the effectiveness of drones in search.

He continues to gain much satisfaction from giving something back and helping others. He is married, has a ten-year old daughter, lives in the beautiful rolling hills of Northumberland in the north of England and is a teacher by profession.

Exercise Northumberland

12 Oct 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Exercise Northumberland was a major exercise set up to evaluate the performance of aerial and ground-based search assets, based on earlier work, in 1987, by the UK Home Office known as 'The O'Donnell Theory'.  It set out to update these historical findings based on current approaches and methodologies for searching on the ground and developments in aerial technology. 

Both Initial Response and Intermediate Phase search techniques were employed by both ground searchers and aerial assets including fixed and rotary wing piloted aircraft and fixed and rotary wing drones.  An evaluation of the performance of each search asset was made.

The challenges and logistics of setting up such an exercise will be discussed; the performance and effectiveness of each asset will be reported on and an outline of future research based on the outcomes of the exercise will be given.




Night Search - Why, Where and How and How to Maximise Performance

13 Oct 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

This presentation will seek to aid in developing an understanding of why a night search capability is essential.  It will consider how our senses work and examine the skills required to search effectively at night and the processes underpinning them.

? Looking at why the skill of night search is an essential part of the tool-kit for a SAR responder

? Considering where searchers can usefully be deployed at night being mindful of misper behaviour

? Outlining methods of search for effective and efficient searching at night

? Developing an understanding of our senses to maximise searcher performance

? A look at how developing technology could assist night search efforts