24 November 2017

From rescuer to casualty

Autumn comes with falling leaves and a rescue training. We don't have many, as we're not needed often! The last time had been in spring. And this time I received an email beforehand from Dave, who would organise this session. Would I be willing to be the casualty? I think he especially wanted a woman as it fit his script. He wanted to make the training realistic, with patchy information coming in. The call-out would be because a man who would visit Wrysgan hadn't come home. Only later would it become clear he had not been on his own. If they would find a bloke first they may assume it was the one they were looking for and only deal with him. But finding a woman when you look for a man tells you you need to look for a second person!

In order to prevent me lying in a mine forever and getting cold and bored his plan was: he would tell me where the casualty (represented by a boiler suit and a helmet) would be, and I should make sure I was in the team searching that part of the mine. Once the suit was found I should take its place. Sounded fine!

It was a bit of a faff to elbow my way into the correct search team (Wrysgan has several entrances giving access to several parts of the mine) but I managed. The person at the front got to where the suit was, and noticed it immediately. My cue for sneaking down to it and lying down!

Walking up to the entrance of Wrysgan, with the Cwm tips as a backdrop

The controller radioing down to the base at the car park

Who goes in where? 

Soon a casualty carer got to me and assessed me. I was in a terrible state! Broken neck, broken lower leg, broken clavicle, and ruptured spleen. Oh dear. He picked up on all of that and reassured me. I started muttering about my mate Gary; had they found him? Was he alright? Soon after he was found too, but he remained an empty suit and helmet; this casualty was a fatality. The rescuers were careful not to tell me that...

After a while a spinal board, casualty bag and stretcher were delivered, and I had to be put in. That's quite a faff with a casualty with so many injuries! But they did a good job. Soon I was immobilised, but warm and snug in the stretcher. They then had to hoist me up the slope I had (in the scenario) fallen down, and from there they carried me out. It went rather fast and smooth! There were some issues; I was a bit lop-sided in the stretcher, and my nose and mouth sometimes vanished inside the casualty bag. Not good! Not if you're not fully conscious and you've already vomited (in the scenario, again). But I as myself was quite comfortable.

Being pulled up the slope

Getting me through a tight bit

 I'm out!

They had me out by half past one! That was quick. We had to retrieve some kit and then we could walk down and do a debrief.

While we were debriefing we saw Mick and entourage park up. They were clearly going into Cwm! But we weren't done yet. They waited a while but then they set off. Can't blame them. Would have been nice to say hi though!

As it was so early, several of us went down to the Lakeside cafe for a cup of tea. Paul and Rupert didn't; they decided to scamper after Mick et al and join them! But I knew I still had work to do so I went for the one cup of tea, and from there went to the office. All I could do that day I wouldn't have to do on Sunday!

It was a beautiful day!

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