This week we have seperate accounts from Blue and Red Squads.
Blue Squad concentrated on RTC (Road Traffic Collision) training this week and for some this is the part we’ve been waiting for!
Monday morning started with theory sessions which included the basics of car design, for example, crumple zones, airbags, technical information about electric and hybrid/ mild hybrid cars and the risks they pose whilst dealing them in the event of a crash.
As the week progressed we used the things we learnt in the classroom into practice on the fire ground. We had demonstrations on airbag deployment and there were cars set out for us to work on, some on their side and others on their roof to simulate different scenarios and what we could see and deal with in real life. We were introduced to the different RTC equipment which included cutters, spreaders, saws and generators. Some of the equipment is battery operated and others pneumatic, and we started to use the equipment in different scenarios from cutting roofs off cars to removing doors to get a casualty out quickly and safely.
The Squad's objectives became more complicated as the week progressed and on Thursday came our group practical exam. We were sat in the mess room chatting when the ‘bells sounded’ and we got turned out as if it was a real incident, although it was just in the fire ground! We changed into our fire gear, climbed in the fire engine and drove into the fire ground on blue flashing lights. We were faced with a simulated multi-vehicle crash in which we needed to put all our newly acquired skills to the test and extricate two casualties from the vehicles. The assessment took about an hour to complete and was very hard work but gave all the recruits a great insight into how it would be in a real life situation and the high level of pressures involved.
Red Squad got straight back into their second week in BA (breathing apparatus training), starting off with using guidelines and branch lines, which are used to aid search and rescue teams in larger and more complex buildings. This involves intricate knot tying with gloves on but has now become second nature to us.
We were then back in the classroom and covered several case studies, one of which was Shirley Towers, this led onto our entrapment and entanglement procedures which we had to demonstrate outside on a entanglement rig.
After a short but tough week of hot wears in the OTC (Operational Training Centre) building at HQ, we impressed our instructors with our search and rescue procedures and left feeling confident for our practical assessments after a well deserved Easter Bank Holiday.