Exercise ‘Demon’, Delamere Forest

This evening 17 team members and three of our Landrover ambulances journeyed to Delamere Forest in Cheshire to take part in a joint exercise hosted and organised by our colleagues in Cheshire Lowland Search & Rescue Team (a member team of ALSAR, the Association of Lowland Search & Rescue).

We had an excellent turnout considering that eleven other team members stayed back in our home area with our fourth vehicle, to maintain local area operational cover in case of callout, with another eleven team members away on summer holidays.

Exercise ’Demon’ was based around the scenario of a light aircraft crashing into a minibus full of children & adults within the Delamere Forest area of Cheshire. Exercise incident locations were based around the Battleaxe Road-Black Lake area of Delamere Forest within densely planted areas of conifers and deciduous woodland.

Team vehicles awaiting deployment.

Alongside full team participation from Cheshire LSART and of course our 17 members, exercise participants also came from North Cheshire Hospitals Trust Medical Aid Team, St. John Ambulance Brigade (Cheshire) who brought four standard ambulances and two Landrover ambulances, as well as The Forestry Commission rangers and workers from Delamere Forest Park, and an observer from Cheshire Constabulary.

Team vehicles, members at the RVP together with NCHTMAT, SJAB, FC & Delamere Forest workers.

The exercise had many aims, including multi-agency working, command and control, casualty care, extrication, triage, search techniques, casualty evacuation from scene, and casualty transport in ambulances.

Team members & SJAB members work on a casualty

The exercise ran smoothly and brought together 3 principal organisations: Mountain Rescue, Lowland Search & Rescue and SJAB, who although dealing with different scenarios and environments on a day-to-day basis, all came together to create a generally smooth running and very successful joint exercise.

Because of our very busy operational workload and other home area commitments, we rarely exercise out of our immediate home operational area nowadays, so for most of the (newer) team members taking part in tonight’s exercise, this was a relatively unique experience to view how others work, and of course to exercise in an unfamiliar area.

All of the Bolton members taking part were impressed with the organisation of this exercise and full credit is due to our colleagues in Cheshire LSART for putting on this exercise, and particularly Mark Jeffers (Cheshire’s Team Leader), and his assistant Jo for organising the whole event.

De-brief time !

Immediately following the exercise people then had a chance to socialise at the Delamere visitor centre where all participants enjoyed the excellent post-exercise catering provided by the Cheshire team.

This exercise gave us all a great opportunity to work together, learn from our mistakes (and to be honest virtually everything went OK!), which will only serve to better our liaison on future operational incidents where we find ourselves working together.