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Basic Responder Training

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Vehicle and Insurance

Defender 90 On Steep Hill

If you plan to volunteer with 4×4 Response Wales please speak to your insurer to confirm that you are covered under your policy for 4×4 Response Wales volunteering. Many insurers provide this cover free of charge, or free if you have business cover, but some don’t. As a general guide you can check with ABI to see if your insurer provides volunteer insurance but please speak directly to your own insurer. Please also make sure that your driving licence and all other vehicle documentation is in order.


The purpose of 4×4 Response Wales Basic Responder training is to ensure as far as is reasonable that each member has acquired and been assessed against a series of basic skills, knowledge and experience that will equip them for the Basic Responder role. The following elements are included in the Basic Responder training, but before that it is important to make sure that you understand and are willing to comply with the Tread Lightly code of conduct.

Vehicle Inspection

This inspection is carried out by an experienced 4×4 Response Wales marshal to check the key basic functions and condition of the vehicle using our POWDER checklist.  This is not an inspection of the vehicle’s legal road worthiness, which remains the responsibility of the vehicle owner.  The POWDER inspection will include the tidiness, cleanliness and acceptability of the vehicle for use on 4×4 Response Wales deployments. We recommend the POWDER process for all vehicle owners.

Hover over the individual letters to see what they stand for, and the checks which are performed.

P is for
O is for
W is for
D is for
E is for
R is for

Equipment Inspection

This inspection is carried out by an experienced 4×4 Response Wales marshal against the Volunteer & Basic Responder Equipment Lists. We do not provide specifications for the equipment, however all equipment must be in clean and serviceable condition and any shackles, strops, towing and winching equipment must be suitably and clearly rated for the loads intended.  Un-rated equipment is not acceptable.

In addition to the Basic Responder Equipment List there are additional items of equipment for Advanced Responders and Optional Equipment that might be useful or required depending on the nature of the deployment envisaged.  These can be discussed with the marshal at the time of the inspection. 

Severe Weather and Off-Tarmac Driving Workshop

This workshop is led by one of our NPTC members and covers all aspects of the types of driving that you may be required to carry out on a deployment, excluding the use of winches and trailers, but including for example:

  • Safety, preparation and hazard assessment
  • Good practice and driving techniques
  • Gear selection and differential locks
  • Ascents, descents, failed ascents, side slopes, ridges, ridges & gullies
  • Dealing with mud, snow & ice, water crossings and sand
  • Recovery techniques and return to the road
  • Driving techniques

Navigation Theory & Practical Exercises

These exercises are aimed at providing Responders with some basic navigation skills that will enable them to navigate to remote locations relying only on Ordnance Survey 1:25k paper map and compass.  

Navigation Theory

This exercise is classroom based and includes plotting waymarks and rendezvous points using grid references and bearing/distance information.  It also includes reading and understanding basic OS map features and symbols including those for legal rights of way.  Training materials are provided. Ordnance Survey Map Reading guides and resources can be found here

Navigation Practice

This exercise takes the Theory solutions developed in the classroom out into the field.  Responders work in pairs in one vehicle to navigate a route using only paper map and compass without the use of any electronic navigation aids whilst recording locations, times, distances and mileages run. Marshals are on hand to provide advice and to ensure that only legal routes are used.

Off-Tarmac Driving Assessment

This assessment involves the Volunteer, driving a suitable off road course where they can be assessed by an experienced 4x4RW marshal.  The assessment includes as many of the driving techniques discussed in the Severe Weather and Off-Tarmac Driving Workshop as possible given the prevailing weather and the conditions of the training routes available, but is not likely to include snow and ice.  This exercise is aimed at assessing knowledge of the vehicle and its capabilities, sympathetic driving and application of risk assessment techniques and solutions to overcoming obstacles.

First on Scene Exercise

Usually conducted in the field this exercise is aimed at providing the Volunteer with an appreciation of what might be required of them if they are ‘First on Scene’ at an incident.  It is led by a 4x4RW experienced paramedic or marshal and is conducted either in a classroom or in the field (preferred) .  It covers casualty assessment, CPR practice, resource management, location identification and communication, AED location and use, emergency services access, decision making, etc.  It is repeated at as many of the weekend training sessions as possible and is a recommended participation for members at all levels as a regular refresher.

ViewRanger Workshop

This session is usually conducted on a one to one basis with an experienced 4x4RW marshal and is aimed simply at ensuring that a Volunteer has mastered the basics of the Viewranger system.  4x4RW is extremely grateful to ViewRanger for permission to use their navigation system in our vehicles and to this end we set out to ensure that each Volunteer knows how to use the system to the best advantage both in planning routes and rendezvous points and in field navigation.  It includes a buddy beacon system that you may be asked to use when on training exercises and/or deployments.

You can find out more about ViewRanger on the following link:

MSA Online Marshal Course

This is an excellent online course provided by Motorsport UK.  It provides a good grounding in marshalling for Volunteers who are involved in vehicle activities particularly where members of the public may be involved and where vehicles may be involved in an incident. You can take the online course here. If you complete the course please keep your certificate and marshal ID card to evidence your training when you join 4×4 Response Wales.

Click here to take the course

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