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Thursday, 10 September 2015 16:07

Major exercise tests emergency services and volunteers

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Last night a large multi-agency search and rescue exercise took place on the River Dart at Newbridge, Dartmoor. A problematic area for communications consisting of rapid river levels increases, steep ground and difficult access.

Major exercise tests emergency services and volunteers

Teams from Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service were joined by voluntary sector Mountain Rescue Teams including Tavistock, Plymouth, Exmoor and Ashburton. The objective of the exercise was to promote inter-team working and best practice, as well as to test major incident handling at Bronze and Silver levels.

The scenario included 5 casualties who had decided to construct a homemade raft and got into difficulties after leaving Dartmeet, failing to arrive at the River Dart Country Park. A member of the public who alerted the authorities to the incident had got themselves involved as they slipped whilst ascending steep ground whilst trying to get a mobile signal.

Deployed teams consisting of members of all organisations were then tasked to search areas along the course of the river to locate and rescue the casualties.

Alec Collyer, Ashburton and Dartmoor Rescue Group Chairman part of the organiser team for the event said ” A major full-time / voluntary inter-agency search and rescue exercise is conducted at least once a year and tonight’s proved to be very successful. The Upper Dart Valley is a difficult area for all the agencies involved, hence sharing skills between the full-time and voluntary sector is vital to ensure any potential incidents are dealt with effectively.”

“The casualty sites required different problem solving challenges and they were purposely made awkward to test the teams.’

“Following the event, debriefs are being held to correlate learning from the exercise and the findings  will be used to improve operational procedures across all agencies.”

Alec also highlighted the contribution of the volunteer casualties. “We are very grateful  to all the members of the public who volunteered as casualties. Without them the exercise wouldn’t have been possible or as successful as it was”

Multi-agency exercise - Newbridge

 

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