Exercise 'Stickleback'

Exercise Stickleback, February 28th 2012 Whitlingham Country park

Pictures courtesy of 3rdi Media

Norfolk Fire and Rescue USAR hosted Carrow Fire Crews, the Ambulance Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), Norfolk Police Search Advisor (POLSA), Norfolk Lowland Search and Rescue (NORLSAR), the RNLI and the control unit from Wymondham in a large scale water and land search and rescue exercise which was conducted during the hours of darkness.

The exercise was organised by technician Scott Field from Red Watch USAR, it involved two light aircraft that had collided over the broad, one coming down in the broad striking three yachts and the other in the picnic medow. There were 7 casualties in the water and two on land. Volunteers from Whitlingham outdoor education centre and City College were the casualties.

Exercise aims

  • To test the county of Norfolk’s response to a large scale incident involving multiple casualties in water and on land
  • To test the interoperability of all agencies involved with specific examination of command structure and communications
  • To robustly test the recovery, treatment and processing of casualties and bystanders and the associated actions of all agencies

Learning outcomes

  •  To experience the effective integration of bronze command at a multi-agency incident
  •  To demonstrate best practice with regard to casualty management, communication and care
  •  To demonstrate an efficient, effective and systematic search plan of the incident site in cold and darkness
  •  To allow all agencies whether land or water based, to conduct operations in a realistic scenario in adverse environmental conditions

The exercise started at 18:30 with Carrow being the first attending crew, they were met by a distressed brother of one of the casualties who was claiming to have seen an aircraft hit the yachts. They then proceeded to the water to see casualties close to the bank requiring immediate rescue, once these were dealt with a systematic search of the broad and surrounding area took place. One light aircraft was discovered half floating in the broad with the other found some 500 yards away in the woods.
In total, including responders, observers and volunteers there were over 60 personnel at the exercise.

All of the aims and objectives were fully tested by the exercise and all learning points will be fed into future operations and exercises.

Quote From ACO Roy Harold

“The exercise was a great demonstration of what our staff can achieve, delivering a realistic, challenging multi-agency exercise in testing conditions.”