Wet and Wild(ish) by Jacques Crowther (CVSRT Probie)
The weekend of the 10th of October saw the first MPSRO regional Water First Responder course. Principally organised by CVSRT members, with hosting and additional tuition from Rossendale and Pendle MRT and team members from Bolton, Calder Valley and Rossendale & Pendle in attendance.
Conscious of a global trend towards more extreme weather events and having been called upon to assist during the flooding of recent years, Mountain Rescue Teams nationally have begun to ensure that they are properly trained and equipped to meet the challenges of operating in flood and swift water environments.
Every member of a mountain rescue team is required to have an understanding of working alongside water features and some members are trained as Swift Water Technicians (i.e. trained to enter deeper swift water and retrieve casualties). This course was designed to qualify the attendees with the skills to carry out ‘Non Buoyant’ rescues and operating in the ‘Hot Zone’, where there is a realistic danger and likelihood of accidentally ending up out of your depth. The Course was divided into a theory day at RPMRT base, followed by a practical day on the River Irwell at Burrs Country Park and Activity Centre. Kevin Garvey (RPMRT) and Mick Smith (CVSRT) kicked off with an overview and discussion of the strategic intention of regional cooperation to build a robust swift/flood water capability. Kevin, Mick, Al Day and Howard Barton covered the areas of the syllabus which best suited their knowledge and experience.
As a course participant their informal and collegiate approach made it easy to learn, with all the instructors open to others contributing. We covered how water moves and the hazards specific to submerged features, how to read surface signs to understand the hydrology, communications, organisation, water specific casualty care, kit and equipment and more.