Joint exercise this evening with our colleagues from Cheshire Search and Rescue Team and Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team

Our evening exercise this week took the form of a joint exercise with our neighbouring colleagues from ALSAR, namely long established Cheshire Search and Rescue Team and ‘new’ ALSAR team, Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team.

All taking part started to assemble at Lower House Car Park, Rivington, around 19.00hrs onwards, and then proceeded to partake in that time honoured exercise of ‘group milling,’ until the exercise as such commenced at 19.50hrs.

DSC_4868_SmallThankfully the torrential rain of (seemingly) all day gave way for tonight’s exercise to clear skies, so though the ground was saturated at least all attending managed to stay dry (that is apart from the ‘water babies’ on tonight’s exercise)

Tonight’s exercise aim was simply to provide an opportunity for the members of the three teams present to work together.

The scenario, which took place within the former Japanese Garden and Japanese Lagoon area of the Terraced Gardens, had three ‘exercise’ casualties in interesting locations regarding access, all requiring immediate aid and evacuation back to Lower House.

Planned by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and Equipment Officer – Water David Cook in DSC_4971_smallconsultation with our Training Officer Alistair Greenough, the first task was to arrange all present in to a ‘water team’, a rope team, four stretcher party groups, and a  coordinator / casualty site manager on scene – a role undertaken by our Deputy Team Leader Chris Greenhalgh assisted by our Treasurer Martin Banks (swopping accountancy for managing the scene) and then send all present up to the exercise location.

Radio control was provided by team member Chris Weatherhead, later joined by Geoff Seddon and Chris Tennant, at Lower House Car Park from our Incident Control Vehicle.

DSC_4955_smallUpon arrival at the exercise incident location, they met further Bolton MRT members with our pre placed SAR Boat and kit items for the exercise, though our Team Leader gave all the parties something to carry on their way up, namely three mountain rescue stretchers.

Scenario 1 was a person (actually one of our training manikins) floating in the water of the Japanese Lagoon, who was rescued by a joint CSAR / BMRT water team, and transferred in our SAR Boat to the shoreline, whilst maintaining CPR throughout, to then be stretcher evacuated to Lower House Car Park.

Scenario 2 was another of our training manikins, who had to be transferred from a very small rocky island,DSC_4942_small in to our SAR Boat, thence to the shoreline, again with CPR being carried out continuously, and then as with the previous scenario, stretcher evacuated to Lower House.

Scenario 3 saw Vanda Cowan of Merseyside LSART, feigning serious injury, on another small rocky island outcrop in the Lagoon, again our boat and joint water team came to her immediate aid, but this time, instead of a shoreline transfer, Vanda was offloaded from our boat at the foot of a small rock face, at which point, under the appropriate direction of our Equipment Officer – Ropes and Stretchers Nigel Booth, those within the ‘rope team’ element of the exercise undertook a technical rope rescue vertical stretcher raise.

DSC_4926_smallVanda’s continuing ‘casualty care’ needs were then met by (as part of the training element of the exercise) the ‘least experienced First Aider in Cheshire and Merseyside Teams’! under the guidance and instruction of Bolton MRT very experienced Casualty Carer and instructor Mark Scott.

With the time now at 21.15hrs a fourth exercise casualty came in to play, when Bolton MRT member John Dickinson decided to fracture his leg whilst in the water – another evacuation following appropriate casualty care ensued.

By 22.15hrs all members taking part were back at Lower House Car Park, and the three Team Leaders DSC_4913_smallpresent; our Garry Rhodes MBE, Simon Lane of Cheshire SART and Tom Singleton of Merseyside LSART, who had observed the exercise (Webmaster – this is Team Leader speak for not carrying stretchers) agreed that all teams had worked very well together and all aims of tonight’s exercise had been fulfilled.

A ‘hot’ debrief confirmed from all present that tonight had been enjoyable, with links again forged and strengthened between all taking part.

Bolton MRT members then retired to the Crown at Horwich for a welcome drink, whilst Cheshire SART and Merseyside LSART members faced the motorway journey back to their team areas.


The following resources were present for the exercise tonight;

  • Bolton MRT; Four Land Rover Defender Mountain Rescue Ambulances, Ford Transit Crewbus / Ambulance, Incident Control Vehicle, 3.4 meter semi rigid Inflatable SAR Boat, 35x Team Call Out list members, DVSD Search Dog Sasha and Trailing Search Dog Boris.
  • Cheshire Search and Rescue Team; One Land Rover Search and Rescue Ambulance, 19x team members.
  • Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team; 7x team members.

Total involved in tonight’s exercise; 61x Search and Rescue volunteers and 2x Mountain Rescue Search Dogs.


And the final comment of the evenings exercise goes to a member of Merseyside Lowland Search and Rescue Team, who wanted to know where the famous Bolton MRT Lemon Drizzle Cake was this evening! (Ask BMRT member and ace cake baker Steve James!)

Our readers might like to guess how long it will take us to dry out our Training Manikin who played the part of a drowned casualty.