IMRA National Training Exercise
The 2002 IMRA National Training Exercise took place on the weekend
of the 6th-7th April and involved over 80 mountain rescue personnel
from all over the country, as well as many non-MR agencies such
as Civil Defence, Order of Malta, Irish Coastguard, Water Rescue
Groups, Garda Siochana, Air Accident Investigators, Media etc..
The weekend was based in Killarney International Youth Hostel
in Aghadoe, and the exercise itself was centred in the Gap of
Dunloe, where a simulated air accident had occurred, leaving some
20+ casualties and a number of 'fatalities'.
The weather was superb for the day and the exercise went off very
well. See elsewhere on this page for reports (more reports to
be uploaded soon).
Evening entertainment comprised a meal at Kate Kearney's Cottage,
e-slide show of the day's activities from Jimmy Laide, the presentation
of a number of Golden Karabiner Awards,
and some superb music from local band Alanna.
A number of debriefs were held on the Sunday morning, during which
the exercise was discussed in depth and learning points identified.
The Korean air crash several days later, during which some 30
survivors had to be evacuated from a mountainous area served as
a chilly reminder that incidents such as this really can occur.
Some of the TV pictures were uncannily reminiscent of scenes witnessed
during the exercise, albeit more harrowing.
Kerry MRT would like to thank everyone involved in the weekend
for all their efforts, particularly the staff of Aghadoe Youth
Hostel who got up at some unearthly hour to ensure that a full
cooked breakfast for 80 was available at 6am - fair play to them!!
Please click on an image to enlarge it:
Many thanks to Jimmy Laide and Aidan Forde for supplying
the photographs shown here.
To view press photographs of the exercise visit www.macmonagle.com.
A Casualty's Story...
By John Forde
Two broken femurs. Thats what I had. Apparently
I was losing blood at a fierce rate into both legs causing my
thighs to swell to the size of small whale but I didnt feel
too bad as I lay in my sleeping bag around 8 oclock waiting
to be found, blissfully unconcerned of my critical condition.
The sky was blue, no clouds, an easterly breeze and the Sun was
rising over Purple Mountain. Jasus, twas a grand morning
for a call-out! I had the Civil Defence packed lunch and all the
rest of the mountain tucker that I threw into the bag as I ran
out the door earlier that morning. I had my mat underneath me,
sleeping bag on and the hat on the head so, not surprisingly,
I promptly fell asleep. I drifted off to the sounds of a local
peregrine screaming at the intrusion of its patch of earth.
I was gently snoring as the first of the rescue team
began to hover around the general vicinity of the crash
site. At this stage I was roasting in the bag and dying
to go to the jacks! But I couldnt move in case Id
alert the rescue team of my hiding place. But it was no good,
when Mammy Nature calls, she hollers so I undertook the most covert
of ablutions ever undertake on Bull Mountain. I crawled back to
my spot and waited to be man-handled by whatever unfortunate happened
to come across me. As I lay back on my mat I began to practice
how I would respond to the treatment that the rescuers would meat
out. They didnt know that I had two broken femurs so how
do I let them know? And I was supposed to get worse as time went
on, losing conciousness and so on. And I was only supposed to
be able to give vague answers to their questions. This was going
through my head as I heard a Dub accent getting closer. I lay
still and watched as my man went past me, only 2 or 3 metres away!
He went over towards a spot where I knew Paul was lying, dying
of God knows what.
But a few minutes later Ann from the Glen of Imaall
team and Mags from KMRT cornered me and started asking me questions
like What day is it? and Whats your name?.
For a few seconds I forgot to act casualty-like and said Sure,
its Saturday you thick! then I copped on and started being
unresponsive and generally a pain in the arse! Aidan Forde meanwhile
hovered above, perched on a rock, observing the whole scene and
scribbling down some notes. This went on for a while until Mags
started a full body check. She soon copped on that I had two broken
femurs and let the rest of the team know. The general feeling
was that I was a critical case and should be off the the hill
a.s.a.p. Sure enough, I was promoted to Priority 1. Then the news
that the Shannon-based helicopter couldnt come down for
another hour and a half. It was decided that this was too long,
that Id be Tango4 in no time and that I needed to be off
immediately. So the search started for a stretcher. I started
to get hungry and needed to attend Mama Nature again so Lazarus
rose and relieved and fed himself. TV3 then turned up a camera
and, unbeknownst to me, started filming the goings-on from above.
Anyway, eventually a stretcher turned up and the best
crack Ive had on the hill in a while begun. Being horizontal
and going downhill is a strange feeling. I couldnt help
looking forward to see where we were going and at one point all
I could see was heather and the water of the lake below. I decided
to enjoy it so I lay back, closed my eyes and placed my trust
in the hands and shoulder muscles of the poor bastards to my left
and right! In short order we at the cable lower point and Tim
and Mike started to attach me to the line. I was none too confident
in whole cable-lower thing until we were over the edge and dangling
in free air. It turned out to be a very smooth ride and in no
time reached the lake where I was put aboard my second type of
transport an inflatable. Across the lake and into the third
the ambulance. More questions and expert TLC. After all
that I was fit to eat an equine quadruped so my nose led me to
the Civil Defences tent for some beef stew and trifle! While
savouring that I looked on as John ODonoghue pressed the
political flesh. After that I needed a pint of plain cue
Kates, hairy ears, ceol mór and good looking lead singers