Joint exercise with GMFRS

Saturday, 26th April, saw the team participating in another major exercise with Greater Manchester County Fire Service, FIREBOLT III (another example of Garry our Leader stretching his imagination to the fullest for an exercise name), which took place in Wilton 1 Quarry, involving a scenario where three climbers were injured, two on the ground and a third (acted out by ex team member Gyles Denn) “cragfast” and injured, lying on a high rock ledge.

The format was a GMCFS PDA (Pre-determined attendance), whereby the Bolton team were called out to assist GMCFS. In total 25 team members attended, alongside the following Fire Appliances and their crews: W52 Horwich pump, W50 Bolton Central pump, W51 Bolton North pump, W54 Wigan Emergency Salvage Tender, W56 Atherton pump, the Bolton North Pinzgauer and the Bolton Central Hydraulic Platform. GMCFS Fire Officers present included Station Officers and a Divisional Officer.

The exercise included the Fire Service dealing with one “casualty ” solely, (played out by a training dummy), then the joint stretcher rescue of a second “casualty”, played by a Fireman with suitably simulated fractured leg, and the Troll Alphin stretcher lower system, employed by the team, to rescue the “cragfast” exercise casualty.

Rounding off the exercise was a demonstration of our search dog capabilities, by our SARDA handler Paul Baxendale, and his dog “Blue”,

Organised jointly by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes, Team Training Officer Ann Shaw and GMCFS Sub Officer Shaun Walton, the exercise was judged a success by all present, and further consolidated the joint working between the team and the Fire Service.

Mention must be made of the excellent and much welcomed catering provided by regular team helpers Tina Tennant (wife of team member Chris Tennant) and George Thomason (father of team member Mike Thomason), who both kept up an endless supply of hot drinks and bacon butties (plus of course the veggie alternative) throughout the exercise, for Fire and MRT members alike.

Thanks are also due to the Manager of the Wilton Arms Public House, for allowing the use of the pub car park as a RVP and muster point for our four team vehicles, team members private vehicles, and the many Fire Service vehicles.

And the final word…… well the exercise was very well planned, and very well “time tabled”, but as they say: “the best laid plans….”. We’d forgotten about the Horwich Morris Mens’ (and other Morris Men Groups) annual procession, which just happened to pass Horwich Fire Station (the exercise start point) as we got the command to respond, hence the sight of Fire Engines amongst the street dancing Morris Men, and the MRT response part of the exercise being ten minutes late, as our MRT vehicles brought up the tail end of the Morris Mens’ procession!!

GMCFS & BMRT personnel move the exercise casualty safely away from the foot of the quarry face