Members of the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) National Resilience team have facilitated six training scenarios for Devon & Cornwall police search managers. Devon & Cornwall police have at present 200 fully trained search officers and to ensure that all remain in licence they are required to attend two refresher days a year.
Colin Sharp, National Resilience Watch Manager said: “The training is part of the Devon & Cornwall Polices’ Continual Professional Development (CPD) for their search manager qualification. It gives them an understanding on a base level of what a confined space is as well as familiarisation on what National Resilience and the frontline fire service response do on this type of incident.
“All the police dive team have been fully trained in both search management trained and confined spaces and we have recently worked with them on a mine-related incident. These training exercises give an awareness to the police what we bring to the mix as well as improve working relationships.”
Paul Kearton, Force search advisor explained: “The search training varies from counter-terrorism, explosive devices, to missing persons and firearms. Today the training is about searching within collapsed structures, vehicles and confined spaces. Colin Sharp has spoken to our team on safe systems of work and his team have very kindly constructed scenarios that the officers would not normally be able to experience.”
As in a real incident, the collapsed structures were made safe by National Resilience and the police search officers then looked for items of property that may relate to the course of the collapse as well as personal items that identify the causalities involved in the incident.
Paul continued: “For the officers searching it’s about working on their team leadership communication skills as these environments are much more challenging then what they normally search in. This is the aim of the training today.
“We work with National Resilience a lot on live searches and as we are both small highly skilled teams, the more we train together the easier it is when we all meet up on the same incident.”
Dave Norris, Crew Manager Alpha Watch said: “Today has been a good opportunity for the police search teams to find out what USAR do before they turn up. This involves scene assessment, making collapsed structures safe and providing them information to assist in their search.”
Image shows the teams in training scenarios. Photo supplied by DSFRS.
DSFRS Website: www.dsfire.gov.uk