River rescue stunt to test resources

Emergency services from across West Yorkshire staged a dramatic rescue stimulation to test resources.
Emergency services from across West Yorkshire staged a dramatic rescue stimulation to test resources.

EMERGENCY services from across West Yorkshire performed a dramatic river rescue from Castleford footbridge as a practice run to test their resources.

Exercise Eddy – organised by West Yorkshire Fire Service – saw fire crews, ambulance teams and specialist police units work together to rescue casualties from a pretend barge collision in the River Aire.

The police helicopter was scrambled to assist an underwater team, who searched for missing boat passengers in the river – as it would in a real emergency.

The event was part of national Exercise Watermark, organised by the Environmental Agency, to test how prepared certain areas are for flash flooding, overflowing rivers, collapsing reservoirs and tidal surges.

Fire service area manager Brian Robson said: “The rescue reflects what would happen in the real world. This could be a real-life situation and we’d use the same techniques.

“This gives all the emergency services an opportunity to work together, which reassures us that the things we have practised separately as a fire service will work when we’re working together.”

Mick Hardacre, manager of West Yorkshire Ambulance hazardous area response team, said: “It really tests whether our training works and the ability of our staff. Exercises like this also give them confidence to know they can work well in difficult circumstances.”