Aug 25 2009
Today callout team members Mark Scott, Fred Taylor and Chris Tennant
attended a Joint Emergency Services Liaison day hosted by “C” Flight 22
Squadron RAF Valley. The meeting was attended by a diverse range of
providers of emergency services for North Wales and the Northwest of
England. As well as representatives of “C” Flight 22 squadron, SARTU (Search and Rescue Training Unit), 230 (R) Squadron (the Sea King operational conversion unit), also in attendance were representatives of
Mountain Rescue (Bolton, Llanberis, RAF Valley & Ogwen teams), Greater Manchester
Police (including Missing Person Search Managers), Merseyside and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services, the Search and Rescue Dog Association, and a number of representatives from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Bolton MRT Mobile 2 parked alongside RAF MRS vehicles at RAF Valley
The following is a report on the day by team member Mark Scott.
The main purpose of the meeting was for each service to make contact and
share information about their capability through examining realistic
rescue scenarios facilitated by members of “C” Flight. After an initial
presentation about “C” Flight’s SAR capabilities, we were split into
groups to consider “a desktop exercise” designed to get us talking about
what we could and, just as importantly, could not do in the situation
given. It was soon clear that the meeting’s aim was a worthy one – there
was quite a significant lack of knowledge between the services about
each other’s capabilities. The scenario involved a vehicle plunging into
water down a steep slope – some were surprised that all Bolton MRT team
members carry Personal Flotation Devices (a type of self-inflating lifejacket) in their rucksacks on all operational incidents, and that we also have a kayak and canoe team for water searches and rescues and regularly train in the deployment of these.
There followed a plenary in which the main findings were presented to
the whole group, and then we received a presentation about the future of
RAF Search and Rescue.
We would like to extend our warm thanks to colleagues in “C” Flight for
arranging the day and inviting us. We all agreed it had been of great
benefit, and the sight of the five Sea Kings on the tarmac beside “C”
Flight 22 squadron and 203 (R) squadron’s impressive base, in glorious sunny weather, and with the
Snowdonia hills looking so close and inviting, whetted our appetite for
the hands-on Sea King training that is to come very soon – watch this
The Sea King helicopters of RAF Valley
Mark, Fred and Chris headed for home and got as far as Warrington when
the pagers went off. A leisurely drive became a blue light response to
an incident in Trafford where the team’s water capabilities, discussed
at the liaison meeting, were deployed for real in a tragic incident.