Team members involved in steep ground stretcher handling practice, with help from passing members of the public who volunteered to be “exercise casualties.”

Sunday 6th January 2012. Arriving at the base of the prominent steep sided moorland landmark of Rivington Pike, and its associated hill top Pike Tower this afternoon, team members who had travelled along the moorland track of Georges Lane in all four of our team Land Rover Mountain Rescue Ambulance vehicles, met up to carry out some steep ground stretcher handling practice on the very steep sides of Rivington Pike.

The limited visibility from low lying cloud did little to deter a very large number of visitors to the Pike, throughout the two hour exercise we carried out starting at 12.30hrs.

In total thirteen of our Call Out list members and five of our Probationary members were involved, which for our ‘Probbies’ was their first real taste of steep ground stretcher handling.

Split in to two groups, and using both our Bell and SAR Alpine Lite stretchers, we practiced stretcher lowering, raising and sledging techniques, both with and without ‘drag ropes,’ alongside the use of our full length vacuum mattress splints and other vacuum splints.

Almost at the start of the multiple lowers and raises, so many members of the public, both young and old, came across to us and asked if they could have a go being ‘lowered / stretchered’ down the side of the Pike, that we ended up with no problems finding very willing ‘exercise casualties’ to so readily help with our training.

A great many ‘tweeted’ their experience, and an ever greater number of interested members of the public came across to thank the team for the work we do within the local community.

One of the volunteers, from a rambling group, told us he had previously been rescued by helicopter after falling a considerable distance on Great Gable in Cumbria, this time he said “he wanted to see what it would be like to be evacuated by mountain rescue stretcher.” (He ended up with a ‘full’ stretcher carry / sledge, from the Pike summit down to the former toilet block at the corner of the Terraced Gardens)

Whilst this was going on, our specialist ‘trail’ search dog Boris and his handler Steve Nelson, carried out some search practice by following a scent ‘trail’ of a ‘missing person’ through the nearby hillside Rivington Terraced Gardens, with the said ‘missing person’ ably played out by team member Samantha McKay.