May 10 2015
Further to some links made by our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE with Knott End HMCG OIC Tony Johnson whilst jointly attending the recent 999 Emergency Services ‘Show and Tell’ event at Chorley on March 31st 2015 (See website ‘News’ report dated the same) Garry went on to further discuss some joint awareness, training and operational links with HMCG Officer in charge Knott End Tony Johnson.
These included the unique asset of DVSD Search Dog handler Dave Marsh and his Search Dog Sasha in the Bolton MRT, which generated much interest from Tony.
This morning Dave Marsh and fellow DVSD Handler Mike Dermody journeyed to HMCG Knott End for a liaison meeting, in Dave’s own words;
“Today saw our Team’s DVSD handler Dave Marsh travelling to the coast of Lancashire for an informal visit to H M Coastguard Knott End.
Alongside Dave [and Drowned Victims Search Dog Sasha] was fellow DVSD Handler Mike Dermody and DVSD Quincy.
The two handlers met with Officer in Charge Tony Johnson and during the course of the morning OIC John Bradbury [from Morecambe station] joined in the meeting.
John’s son Adam popped in briefly to say ‘Hello’ [due to a pre- arranged meeting], mainly to introduce himself [he is Station Officer in Charge at Knott End].
We were given a guided tour of the station, looking at the numerous pieces of equipment which the Coastguard use – including ropes, lighting, communications, transport and PPE.
What struck Dave was the similarity and familiarity in everything he was shown in relation to the equipment we have in Bolton MRT.
The only difference was that due to Government cut backs, our Team’s equipment seemed to be newer.
This may be due to the fact that this particular coastguard station covers the second largest coastal area in the UK and as such responds to well over 160 call outs per year, resulting in high wear to everything that is employed for search and rescue purposes.
Many people think the coastguard is a charitable organisation, which is far from the truth, as it is government funded and like all government sectors, has suffered massively with the cutbacks of their budgets.
Once the base tour was completed, both handlers held an in depth discussion regarding inter operational strategies where each could assist and complement the other.
Tony outlined the history of the base, command structure, types of call outs and the different methods employed to prosecute these searches. Inter agency working was paramount, with the coastguard working with and alongside Police, Fire and Rescue, RNLI, Heysham Power Station Police, our good colleagues in Lancashire – Bowland Pennine Mountain Rescue Team, members of the public [including Hotel owners, house owners etc] and also with the captains and crews of the many passing vessels in the area.
Discussion included the many boat landing areas which were pinpointed on the various maps used.
It was decided to continue forming this working relationship with HMCG, with Dave and Mike being given a conducted guided tour of these landing sites which will come in handy regarding future operational activities.
Thanks were proffered to Tony and John for their time and hospitality and it is hoped future meetings will take place as well as operational searches.”