Offaly Civil Defence Exercise with Lagan Search & Rescue
6 August 2015
Raphael Fallon, Offaly Civil Defence officer made contact in recent times with his counterpart Philip Batt Training & Development Officer, Lagan Search & Rescue, based in Belfast, and discussed the possibility of an exchange visit. Dates were set for this first Official visit of Civil Defence Swiftwater Responders to Belfast, Aug 1st & 2nd. The Offaly crew totalling ten were accompanied by Roisin Mc.Guire, College Principal for the visit.
Permission for the visit was granted by the Department of Foreign Affairs Anglo Irish Division in Dublin, the PSNI & D.O.D. Belfast.
Saturday morning saw the Offaly Unit depart for Belfast arriving at Queens University for the overnight stay in the student accommodation block. We were met by members of LSAR ( Lagan Search & Rescue ) to escort us to their H.Q. in Dalton Street, for a full Operational brief on their activities and area of operations, some of their area takes in the Titanic Quarter. We were given an extensive walking tour / brief by Philip. The group was split up in two, one group going out on the Lagan in their RIB while the remainder took part in the walking brief, at a later stage both groups then changed over to complete the full familiarization brief.
On Sunday morning all crews assembled at LSAR H.Q and proceeded to the Titanic Quarter, to have some official photos taken with the Titanic building acting as a suitable backdrop. Plaques and Shirts etc. were exchanged as mementos of our visit, but then followed the most important aspect of our trip, a combined water exercise with both Units, in “Shaws Bridge” this is the area where LSAR train on a regular basis. Various scenarios were played out over a number of hours, and de-briefs took place following each, with ideas and problems encountered being discussed and the best approach to take while in the water, or conducting medical intervention on the bank following recovery of casualties. Following the various exercises and drills, it was time to change back in to Uniform and head home. We bid farewell to our new friends on the Lagan, and invited them to join us at some later stage in Offaly.
In conclusion I would like to thank my Volunteers for giving up their Bank Holiday week-end to participate in this exercise, the Staff at the Civil Defence College for their assistance, Philip Batt and all his crew for the fantastic reception we received, and the memento gifts etc.