Spring Core Skills Training Day
Last Saturday Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team held a ‘Core Skills Training Day’ at Blakedean Scout Hostel. Traditionally these have been an annual event, though we plan to have another this autumn, to supplement the weekly requirement for specialist training.
Whilst we are volunteers, all team members are highly trained to guidelines set by Mountain Rescue England & Wales. At the heart of these guidelines is a set of 10 core skills needed to operate safely as an effective emergency response, which each team member must demonstrate their capability each year.
The day was split into three sessions. The first a set of five short 25 minute round-robin stations, with small enough numbers to allow everyone to get hands on, covering abseiling, hypothermia packaging, protective equipment checking, set up of Incident Control Vehicle, and helicopter landing site selection and preparation (minus the helicopter unfortunately!).
For the second session team members were split into two groups to undertake a stretcher handling exercise and practice techniques to safely raise and lower stretchers on steep ground; snake belay, crocodile raise and walking ‘v’.
Just as the two groups were swapping activities the team received a request from Yorkshire Ambulance Service to attend a real callout. Within minutes of the call, 20 team members were enroute to assist with the evacuation of an injured walker above Bronte Falls, Stanbury (Incident 1156).
The remaining team members continued with the second activity, broke for lunch, and then got a head start on the last session of the day - a challenge (with prizes!) devised to test navigation, fitness and a selection of core skills.
Team members were paired up, given a sheet containing grid references, labelled as either gold (up to 20pts), silver (10pts) or bronze (5pts) checkpoints, and tasked with visiting at least three gold checkpoints and scoring as many points as possible in 2.5hrs (points lost for late returns). The sting in the tail was that at each gold checkpoint pairs had to demonstrate a core skill within a given time, and were scored according to their performance.
Team members returning from the callout enjoyed a much needed lunch before setting out for what was left of the hotly contested challenge. By 16:30 all pairs had returned and all that was left to do was verify the scores (the adjudicators decision was absolutely final), and award the prizes to the category winners.
Delivery of such a day is a huge undertaking which takes hours of planning by the organising group, and couldn’t happen without volunteers to lead sessions, man checkpoints and provide catering – thanks to you all.
Whilst returning vehicles to the Rescue Post we received our second callout of the day to assist Yorkshire Ambulance Service with the evacuation of an injured man who had fallen and sustained a head injury in Brearley Wood (Incident 1157).