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August Training Weekend

On the 25th August 2018 the team returned from their summer break from formal training, for an exercise based out of the Derry Mountain Rescue Post. The goal of the exercise was to further build on our skills working with the Coastguard Rescue Helicopter, familiarisation of the Yellow Moss area, practise recovering a casualty on a stretcher down steep ground and finally continuing to develop our first aid skills.

The exercise commenced with the bulk of the team departing the bothy on foot for a quick ascent of Craig Derry, to arrive at a pre determined landing site for the helicopter. While this was happening the aircraft arrived at the Derry MR post to run through live helicopter drills with the team's new recruits, overseen by senior team members. Once they had completed this at the bothy, the aircraft ferried all team members in 3 separate flights from the two landing sites, up to the summit of Beinn a'Chaorainn. Waving the aircraft farewell we briefed for a stretcher carry across the extremely featureless boggy terrain in the Moine Bhealaidh, or Yellow Moss as it is otherwise known. This is an area that is extremely dificult to navigate in poor weather so familiarisation for us is key, should a callout in this terrain be needed.

Once we had successfully navigated across the Yellow Moss, we commenced the next section of the exercise, backroping a stretcher down steep ground. This involves tying ropes to a loaded stretcher with multiple members on each rope, using them as a means of braking the stretcher whilst descending very steep ground. The team used this technique to safely travel off the east side of the Yellow Moss down the steep ground into the Dubh Glen. Here we broke into smaller groups to continue practising our first aid.

The first aid we practised involved working as a team with one person acting as a sceario lead with the others assisting by carrying out surveys, taking patient information or stabilising injuries. This team work is critical as it ensures casualties are delt with efficiently and leaders are left with the capacity to deal with external issues not just concerning the casualty.

After the first aid was completed, the exercise culminated in a long stretcher carry back to the MR post at Derry, well and truly dusting off the cobwebs of the summer training break before a debrief and return to Westhill.