MREW Water Conference today in Buxton

Today Bolton MRT Equipment Officer –Water Dave Cook attended the Mountain Rescue England and Wales National Water Conference 2015. The event was held in the impressive High Peak Ballroom of the Palace Hotel in Buxton

After registration and tea and coffee, Andy Lee – MREW National Water Officer and Conference Chair opened the proceedings with a welcome and a DEFRA water standards update.

The first guest speaker was Alex Hanson of Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service who presented a “lessons learned” talk about the Somerset flooding of 2014.

Next up was Malcolm Weatherall of The Met Office (yes that is his real name!) chatting about the reasons for flooding and in particular the convergence of weather systems to create “super rain”,
MREW National Water Officer Andy Lee then delivered the latest details of the MREW Water Standards and their integration into the statutory emergency services.

Veteran of RAF Seaking search and rescue helicopters Douglas MacDonald, now Head of Avionic Operations with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency then took to the stage to update the audience on the roll out of the new search Sikorsky S92A helicopters being provided by Bristow.

An excellent presentation by Josip Granic about the 2014 floods in Bosnia and Croatia we very well received by the delegates. Josip is a member of the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service and shared his experiences of very large scale flooding combined with an uncoordinated response and lack of equipment – and how he and his team overcame the problems and how the community helped each other through. Josip travelled from Croatia for his half an hour on stage and huge thanks was expressed by the conference for his commitment.

Lunch followed and a good trade exhibition where Dave met up with Kevin Garvey of Rossendale and Pendle MRT to discuss the products being displayed and hopeful future purchases.

Alan Heath of Police Scotland advised the conference on search considerations and Police expectations of Mountain Rescue.

iFind is a new set of missing persons data being published by the UK National Crime Agency Missing Persons Bureau and a comprehensive introduction to this was delivered by Intelligence Officer Naomi Eales – including some exercises in interpreting the new data. Body Recovery From Water is a data collection exercise being carried out by Lorna Dennison-Wilkins of Sussex Police – she showed her findings so far on her study into the likely location a deceased body would be found in water.

Last but very much not least was Matt Ward, Consultant Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service with his views on medical considerations within flooded and water environments.

Andy Lee then closed the Conference with thanks to all speakers, exhibitors and delegates for their attendance.