Last night our training session focused on ‘driving to arrive’. With an increasing number of rescue incidents it is more important than ever before that our members do not put themselves or others at risk when responding to an incident. Delivered by an ex-traffic Police Officer and Police driver trainer, the session provided hints and tips to ensure we safely arrive at the RVP. They included the IPSGA and COAST acronyms. Great session with much valuable learning.
Persons reported struggling in the River Wansbeck. A group of young males and females had been drinking all day in Morpeth and after leaving one of the pubs, thought it would be a good idea to take two of the rowing boats, which had been locked up for the night, out onto the river. An eye witness reported seeing the group capsize both of the boats.
That was the scenario which faced a multi-agency response last night. Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service, the Coastguard and Mountain Rescue were involved in agreeing and implementing an effective search plan to locate the missing persons. Swiftwater and bankside teams, all in appropriate PPE, a Mountain Rescue search dog team were swiftly deployed by the three agencies, and all the casualties were located, treated and evacuated within an hour and a half.
A great evening working alongside our colleagues in the Fire Service and Coastguard. Much learning for all involved, which will hold us in good stead for the real thing!
Today water trained Team members took part in a joint exercise with Northumbria Police Marine Unit. The exercise scenario was based on a search for a fisherman missing at the confluence of the North and South Tyne (Fred the exercise manikin was positioned in the river yesterday in an ‘unknown’ location). The Rescue Team provided technical expertise to enable the dive team and their equipment to be positioned safely in a difficult to access location riverside . The Police Team then briefed our members on how they search and equipment used. An underwater search was conducted in difficult conditions. Thankfully Fred was recovered to the bank and evacuated from the site. A great example of partnership working between emergency services and thanks to Northumbria Police for taking part.
We compared, contrasted and familiarised ourselves with the different equipment used by the Scottish and English teams. We then looked at the various ways we can protect a stretcher on a steep slope, including the new DMM Talon, before running an exercise to locate a casualty on a steep slope and utilise the appropriate technique to get them down quickly and safely.
Yesterday evening we were training with North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team at East Woodburn crag. Whilst the wet weather had cleared, the wind made conditions challenging at times.
Our recent intake of trainees practised their clove hitches and alpine butterfly knots whilst others rigged the lowering system using in line anchors and a Petzl ID. Then we turned our attention to a stretcher raise using a rope grab and a 3:1 pulley system.
On Wednesday a few of our Water Rescue First Responders and Water & Flood Incident Managers joined Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit down by the river in Chopwell Woods. The exercise was designed to demonstrate the use of different techniques in order to safely access and egress riverside locations to recover an injured or deceased person.
As part of the exercise we put to good use our technical rope rescue techniques.
Two Scene of Crimes Officers also joined the training session and gave input on forensic body recovery from water.
A gruelling week of training and assessment has paid off for one of our Team members. And that’s not to mention all of the hours of training he put in beforehand too.
Many congratulations to Allan White who has re-qualified as a MREW Advanced Casualty Carer. The qualification enables Allan to provide a high level of pre-hospital emergency medical care in often remote locations and in adverse conditions. Well done!
Those wanting to apply should be: – Physically fit – Confident in their own ability to navigate safely through mountainous environments whilst the weather is unfavourable. – Prior winter walking or mountaineering experience would be advantageous although not essential. – For practical reasons (cost and time spent training) the Team are looking for individuals that are settled in the region and can demonstrate a long term commitment to Mountain Rescue. – For insurance reasons, those applying should be aged between 18 and 70.
The Team is particularly interested in receiving applications from those living or working in the following areas: – Wooler – Alnwick – Rothbury – Along the Tyne Valley west of Newcastle – Bellingham
To apply, please email the Team’s Secretary via firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form, which should be completed and returned no later than the end of February 2016. Interviews and an initial hill skills assessment will take place in April.
Successful applicants will receive a year of training in search skills, radio communications, pre-hospital medical care, technical rescue skills, working with helicopters and winter skills before graduating to the call out list. Once on the call out list, the Team’s highly trained volunteers respond to emergencies at the request of the emergency services when the specialist skills of Mountain Rescue are required.
Calls for assistance include not only searches for, and rescues of, walkers, fell/trail runners, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts in the uplands of Northumberland but also the search and rescue of missing children and vulnerable adults in rural and urban settings. Responding to such emergencies and helping those in need is extremely rewarding. During 2015 the Team responded to 56 incidents, its busiest year on record. The incidents included 23 searches for lost or overdue walkers and vulnerable or despondent individuals, 20 rescues for climbers, fell/trail runners and horse riders, and 2 resilience incidents where NNPMRT responded to assist those affected by the recent flooding across Northumberland.
NNPMRT provides a search and rescue service for the whole of the Northumbria Police area, which covers 2,159 square miles. The largest area covered by any Mountain Rescue team in England. The area extends from Sunderland in the South East, to Alston in the South West, and to the Scottish Border in the North. The Team relies on the diversity of both its volunteers’ locations and working patterns to provide a reliable service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.