Team members invited to specialist Hazard and Evidence Awareness for Air Accident Responders course organised by Cheshire Search and Rescue Team

This evening our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and our Training Officer Alistair Greenough, attended at the very kind invitation of Cheshire Search and Rescue Team the first session of a multi session course covering Hazard and Evidence Awareness for Air Accident Responders.

Tonight’s training took place at the premises of Cheshire Search and Rescue Team, located within the Deanwater Hotel, Wilmslow Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, and saw forty Cheshire SART members in attendance – very impressive.

The session which commenced at 20.00hrs and went through until 23.00hrs, was comprehensively presented by Alan Parmenter, an aircraft engineer, formerly with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, 1984 – 2011, and a former Royal Navy Air Accident Investigator.

Alan introduced himself in his current role as Manager of Accident Investigation at Cranfield University – world renowned in this field of investigation.

Alan’s power point presentation was incredibly informative, interesting and also served to illustrate Alan’s own very broad expertise and considerable experience in the filed of aircraft incidents.

A wide range of topics were covered in this first session, ranging from the role of an Accident Investigator, to the types of aircraft (crash) incidents, and what happens within the post crash management scenario.

Many summaries were given by Alan in his fast paced presentation, including “What happened, How it happened and why it happened,” with regards to aircraft incidents.

Interested parties, how investigations take place, responsibilities and outcomes were covered alongside the more obvious topics as what first responders should be thinking about and doing.

The importance of evidence and the evidence gathering process were detailed, including aircraft parts, casualties, witnesses and data.

Hazard and risk management to first responders and during the post crash site management were extensively covered, ranging from environmental and physical hazards to material, biological and radioactive hazards.

Alan stressed the need for care in not being hazard fixated and risk averse to the potentially complex search and rescue situation first responders might find themselves in, and the later investigative part of the incident, nevertheless a very good understanding of all the dangers that might be present is needed.

Alan had many anecdotes, including in his words, things that go ; “Bang and whoosh !”

Risk management was also covered including organisational and control measures, including training, education, feedback processes and on site control measures.

It was a fascinating evening, mostly new to our Training Officer Alistair Greenough, whilst our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE in his long mountain rescue service has attended presentations and seminars previously from the RAF on Aircraft Post Crash Management, and presentations on courses from the AAIB.

Garry has actually attended two aircraft incidents within his team service involving crashed aircraft, including a multi fatality helicopter crash and a mid air hang glider collision resulting in a fatality, alongside false alarm calls for downed Hot Air Balloons, a helicopter and missing aircraft searches, so the relevance of this course to Bolton MRT is very direct.

Early next year Garry and Alistair have been invited back to further sessions on this topic, again being presented by Alan Parmenter, involving another evening session and a full day exercise / training session.

Garry and Alistair would like to extend their thanks to Team Leader Simon Lane and his colleagues at Cheshire search and Rescue Team for kindly granting them two places on this valuable course.

Garry and Alistair were very impressed with Cheshire SARTs facilities at Deanwater Hotel, with their premises actually situated within a former Leisure Centre building complete with an impressive full size leisure pool.

The leisure pool has now been converted in to a ‘lecture room,’ quite a bizarre feeling to see a fully carpeted pool still with shallow and deep end (or should that be shallow pile and deep pile) markings still present.

We kid you not, even the shower cubicles have been carpeted! – or is it only in ‘poor’ Bolton that we have cold tiles in our shower cubicles.

Finally Garry would like to acknowledge the little gift he received at the conclusion of his visit – a bottle of milk, its the thought that counts.

All in an excellent evening, with Garry and Alistair looking forward to taking part in the remaining parts of this very interesting course, thanks to the kindness of Cheshire SART in granting us two places.