Report on Wednesday evening weekly training exercise on 20th August 2014

This evening our weekly training exercise took the form of a typical urban rescue scenario, as we often get called upon to assist at by NWAS.

Organised jointly by our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh and Call Out list member Paul Copley, it started with an ‘Exercise Call Out’ pager message at 19.30hrs, to the report of an injured person at Captain’s Clough, Doffcocker.

The RVP on Captain’s Clough Road, between Moss Bank Way and Chorley Old Road, saw team members and our vehicles (All six) quickly arrive, to be told of an injured person within the very steep sided, heavily wooded valley of Captain’s Clough, running west / east through this largely residential part of Doffcocker, Bolton.

A search was initially required to locate the ‘exercise’ casualty, with our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE quickly despatching two three person search parties in to the clough either side of Captain’s Clough Road.

Very experienced team members Mark Scott and Dave Marsh quickly took on the role of ‘exercise’ control operating from our Incident Control Vehicle, present at the RVP.

A quick ‘casualty’ find followed (Perhaps a little too quickly for the two exercise organisers original plan!) with the discovery of a male ‘casualty’ having fallen down a very steep banking, and then landed on a thick tree branch overhanging a drop in to a rocky stream bed issuing from a culvert.

Nothing was ‘easy’ regarding accessing the ‘casualty’ who was just tantalisingly within the reach of our tallest team member – Phil Crook, at full stretch !


With the onset of darkness and the priority of securing the hapless ‘casualty’ by a safety rope completed, Tony Dawson and Alan James in charge at the incident scene, quickly formulated a rescue plan, involving two members abseiling down to the stricken male, and then fitting him in to our rescue strop / harness.

This done he was then carefully lowered on to our SAR Alpine Lite MR Stretcher and evacuated out of the clough back to the roadside RVP.

Throughout the exercise we made good use of our PELI scene lighting units to illuminate the exercise area.

In total twenty four team Call Out list members and one Trainee team member attended this evening exercise, with a great many learning points coming out at the ‘hot’ debrief.

We would like to thank Heath Doran, for kindly volunteering to be the exercise casualty for this evening, and putting up with the midge attacks whilst we rescued him.

Heath has expressed a wish to join the team in the future and is awaiting our confirmation of our next recruitment date to fulfil his wish.

At the exercise conclusion at 22.00hrs, all then retired for a social drink at the nearby Doffcocker Inn (Remembered by some of our older members present at the exercise as a former team ‘watering hole’)