Sparking Into Action

 Trainer Garry talks through the workings of some search and rescue equipment with Serve On International Response Team recruits.

Trainer Garry talks through the workings of some search and rescue equipment with Serve On International Response Team recruits.

There were no fireworks, but plenty of sparks at training this month for the International Response Team recruits as they got stuck into some breaching and breaking tool practice.

Friday night involved theory work and a run-through of the drills, saws, cutters and breakers that are available to the team.

Rescues are rarely carried out in the classroom, of course, so that was just the start of the night’s activities.

 Serve On International Response Team recruits head out for a night ‘rescue’.

Serve On International Response Team recruits head out for a night ‘rescue’.

At midnight, the recruits trekked to the training area and were told to hunker down for the night, amidst all the debris of the abandoned buildings there, while they waited for their tools to arrive at the ‘rescue location’.

With only what they had with them to support themselves and to keep warm, it was a useful learning lesson on what they need to carry in their day sacks.

Saturday morning brought some practical lessons on the various tools and lots of situations in which to try them out.

 Serve On International Response Team recruits practising their rescue tool work at the entrance to ‘a collapsed building’

Serve On International Response Team recruits practising their rescue tool work at the entrance to ‘a collapsed building’

The recruits got to use drills and breaking tools in confined spaces; bolt cutters, rebar cutters, grinders and the recip saw; disc-cutters; and the hydraulic breaker.

Suffice to say, there are a lot fewer large lumps of concrete and masonry available on the training site now!

Meanwhile, the Dog team was out in force for the weekend as well, running through their own practice sessions and taking the opportunity for the K9 members of the team to get used to the noise of heavy equipment in the search area.

 Trainer Garry discussing a vertical breach with Serve On International Response Team recruits.

Trainer Garry discussing a vertical breach with Serve On International Response Team recruits.

If the IRT recruits were not tired enough after a day of tool time, there was a lecture on propping and shoring theory on Saturday night.

The homework results should be interesting to see.

Sunday morning brought more theory lessons and some practice with ropes and pulleys as the trainees covered mechanical advantage in the classroom.

The Dog team were still hard at work, outside, in spite of the rain.

It was an exhausting but informative and enjoyable weekend, and the recruits would have slept well on Sunday night (almost as well as they did through the propping and shoring lecture!)

Thanks especially go to Garry for his excellent instruction, and to other trainers including Rab, Nick, Martin and Craig.

 Serve On International Response Team recruit Jim after a stint breaking and breaching.

Serve On International Response Team recruit Jim after a stint breaking and breaching.