Team members present today on DEFRA recognised Flood Responder Course with thanks to our fantastic friends at Cheshire Search and Rescue Team.

Taking up a kind invitation from our friends at Cheshire Search and Rescue Team, early this morning Bolton MRT team members David Cook (Equipment Officer – Water) and Steve Fletcher (Equipment Officer – IT and Communications)  both journeyed to Devils Bridge, Kirby Lonsdale, in our Ford Transit minibus, ‘Bolton Mobile 5,’ to take part in a full day’s Flood Responder Course, alongside Cheshire SART members.

Dave and Steve are both part of the Bolton MRT’s integral water search and rescue team, and today’s course served as an excellent refresher to both members in respect of similar in-house courses run at Llangollen in the summer of 2013.

Today’s course was led by Mark Clayton, a member of Cheshire SART and a qualified Swiftwater Rescue Technician (SRT). Mark was ably assisted by other SRTs from Cheshire SART. The course whole was also quality assured by Rossendale and Pendle team member & SRT, Water Instructor Kevin Garvey.

Starting at 09:00 this morning, Mark introduced the 17 students to the layout of the River Lune in which we would be practicing, before moving onto trying our hand at various recognised wading techniques (in a relatively slow-moving section of the river to start with).

The groups then moved down river to a faster-flowing section which gave the students the experience of the unrelenting flow of water when attempting to wade across.

Before breaking for lunch, a surprise exercise was thrown into the mix, where the students had to make their way from one side of the river, crossing a fast flowing section, and then across to a shallow section where an “injured” casualty was lying.

After lunch, the students were introduced to swimming techniques and the theory of “ferry gliding”, so that the suitably equipped Flood first responder can safety negotiate and rescue themselves from a water course in the event that they are swept downstream.

Finally, a short exercise with Cheshire SART’s inflatable rescue raft took place, which further demonstrated the need for tight teamwork from everyone – whether on the raft, or those controlling the raft from the two banksides.

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Dave and Steve had an excellent and informative day and both would like to thank all our colleagues at Cheshire Search and Rescue Team for inviting us to take part in today’s training session. Thanks also to Kevin  Garvey of Rossendale & Pendle MRT for assessing today’s course.

Please also see the website and Facebook site of our friends and colleagues at Cheshire Search and Rescue Team, for their report on today’s training.