Battle Fire & Rescue carried out rescue at height training on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford on Saturday 17 June, making use of scheduled closures of the bridge for planned maintenance works.
Battle Fire & Rescue is one of two stations in East Sussex that have working at height-trained teams. Four crew members, including crew manager Marc Wise, visited the QEII in Kent to practice their techniques for rescue at height.
Crews undergo weekly training at their station, but once a month take their training into a new environment. Previously, Battle crews have trained at Beachy Head and used tower cranes, but this is the first time they’ve scaled the bridge.
The exercise came about when Marc, who is always looking for high-up places as potential training venues, made a journey over the bridge. He got in touch with Matt Cheese, Dartford’s operation and maintenance manager, and a date was set, utilising a scheduled closure of the bridge for planned maintenance work.
Matt said: “There are areas of the structure that would render the extraction of an ill or injured person extremely difficult, because of the ladders and hatchways that provide access.”
Marc said: “Saturday proved a great learning opportunity for us. The techniques we practice transfer for use in any other incident, it’s the actual venue and the challenges it presents that take our training to another level.”
This scenario saw a dummy casualty on the gantry underneath the road deck. The casualty was placed on a stretcher and manoeuvred up two ladders and through two hatchways, until it was in a position to be hoisted to the road via a pulley system over the handrail.
Battle Fire & Rescue is working with CPS to identify further opportunities to use the QEII Bridge for training exercises both inside and outside the iconic towers themselves.
Marc concludes: “This has been a great opportunity for us, and I would like to thank you for letting us train here.”