Team evening exercise involves multi agency emergency services response to urban rescue scenario

This evening our weekly Wednesday night exercise saw a multi agency response quickly develop to an urban rescue scenario.

Planned and organised by team call out list members Martin Battersby and Steve O’Hara, alongside our team leader Garry Rhodes MBE, the exercise commenced with a call out pager message at 19.35hrs,

“Exercise Call Out, TL has been contacted by NWAS. 1 person has fallen off a road bridge, 4 Land Rovers required, RVP S & S Services, Little Hulton, M38 9AW. It is on the main A6 road.”

Four Team Land Rovers all departed our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ by 19.41hrs with other team members responding directly to the RVP.

At 19.44hrs a further pager message informed all responding team members that GMFRS and GMP were also mobilising to this ‘incident.’

19.51hrs saw our first Land Rover mountain rescue ambulance arrive on scene at the forecourt to S & S Services, a fuel station, on the A6 at Little Hulton.

The four crew on board were immediately briefed by exercise organiser, our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE, to deal with the situation before them: a young boy had accidentally fallen from the parapet of a road bridge, some thirty feet vertical on to a disused railway line below the bridge, and in a failed attempt to stop the boy falling his father had also fallen over the low parapet, landing directly on his son.


As other team Land Rovers arrived alongside further team members, experienced and long serving team member Gill Leigh, assumed control and directed team members to the accident site.

This involved working out how to access the disused railway line, in a very steep sided cutting, from the road bridge.
With access gained via fencing and a steep vegetated banking, assisted by a hand line set up, both the son and father were found to have major multiple trauma on initial examination.

Two GMP PCSOs then arrived joined at circa 20.05hrs by a GMFRS Pump Appliance from GMFRS Farnworth Fire Station.

As the exercise quickly gained momentum, and full ‘casualty care’ was being carried out by a joint Bolton MRT / GMFRS rescue party underneath the bridge, exercise organisers Steve O’ Hara and Martin Battersby then sprung another surprise on the team members and Fire Fighters present at 20.21hrs, with two young teenage girls running up to the rescue party and informing them a man had ‘collapsed’ nearby on the same disused railway cutting.



Team member Steve Nelson (known to our readers as our trailing dog handler) was first on scene, to discover one of our resuscitation mannequins with an attached note stating ; “I have had a cardiac arrest, CPR is required.”

This quickly developed in to the need for specialist casualty care, and more team members being deployed from the original exercise incident.

At circa 20.35hrs the first elements of an NWAS HART response to this incident arrived, and joined in the rescue operations.



A third exercise casualty site involving a fourth exercise casualty and situation was then sprung on all present by the organisers, when a young man on a pedal bike, rode in to the casualty site area, to inform them another young man had fallen down the disused railway line banking, whilst “looking to see what what happening”.

His resulting serious ‘leg fracture’ now split the MRT / GMFRS / NWAS HART members present in to three casualty site locations, with four casualties to deal with.

At this time the NWAS HART resources present were called out for real, to an incident in Lancashire, and quickly left the exercise.

By 21.20hrs the exercise was complete, with all four casualties evacuated out of the disused railway line cutting, some via simple rope assisted haul lines, for transfer to waiting ‘exercise ambulances.’



A hot debrief, as is our norm, was then carried out, to discuss how we had conducted the exercise.

Overall this was an excellent multi agency real time exercise, with very challenging casualty care involved resulting in a wide range of our specialist casualty care equipment being deployed, and the evacuation of four exercise casualties from difficult to access / egress casualty locations.

All the exercise casualties and ‘informants’ bar one person, came from the membership of North West 4 x 4 Response and their families, with the casualties all made up with realistic looking wound and injury simulations, including a large quantity of real blood and battered bones (thanks to Martin Battersby and a friendly local butcher!).

Hopefully all will be mentioned here, so thanks to: Howard Buckley, training officer for North West 4 x 4 Response, and his family members Rachel, Mellissa, Stephen and Andrew, Ian Bruce who is the membership secretary for NW 4 x 4, and John Forsdick who is press officer for NW 4 x 4 and is also a former Bolton MRT member.

Thanks also to Bryce Davies, the brother in law of team member and exercise organiser Steve O’Hara.

We would also like to thank the management of the Gulf Fuel Station, S and S Services, Manchester Road East, Little Hulton, Worsley, Manchester, for being so accommodating to us for this exercise, and allowing a generous amount of their service station to be used for vehicles involved in this exercise, whilst all the time remaining open for business. Special thanks to the Manager, Mr Patel.

The following resources were involved in this exercise on scene;

  • Bolton MRT – four Land Rover mountain rescue ambulance vehicles, our incident control vehicle, three team members acting as exercise organisers, our team president Bob Hutchinson who acted as photographer, and twenty four team members playing an active role in the exercise.
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service – pump appliance G53P1 from GMFRS Farnworth Community Fire Station W53, and four Blue Watch crew (with thanks to Watch Manager John Duffin)
  • North West Ambulance Service – HART team (Team 2) four specialist vehicles, four team members including duty team leader, from Trafford Park Base.
  • Greater Manchester Police -2x PCSO foot patrol officers and 2x PCSO bicycle patrol officers.


Thanks also to NWAS (Manchester) EOC Parkway (Martin Hawksworth, control room manager) and GMP force duty officer / control room.

Finally, the exercise being held in a very public area, attracted a lot of attention from local youths: “is it real?”; “wow it’s just like television!”; “do you get paid for this?”; “can we be rescued on your stretcher?” and passing members of the public, including Mr Royle who follows us on Facebook and Twitter, and is the son of our team leader’s scout leader when Garry was in 6th Worsley Scouts.

And very finally, to all the passing motorists on the very busy adjacent A6 Manchester Road East main road, in Little Hulton, the above is what all those ten emergency vehicles were parked up for on Wednesday evening!