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RNLI volunteers flood to northwest

9th May 2008
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A team of twenty RNLI lifeboat men and women will take part in an emergency exercise this weekend in Fermanagh and Donegal bringing in disaster experience from Africa, floods created by power stations and helicopter drops in the hills.

The various fake disasters will put volunteers to the test and train them in dealing with major flooding and disaster management.

The Flood Rescue Team (FRT) is made up of volunteer lifeboat crew from Ireland and the UK and was formed in 2000 following a Mozambique operation where an RNLI team were asked to take vital medical relief to 10,000 people in villages marooned by floodwater

Since then the unit have been called to assist in Guyana in South America in 2005 when 250,000 people were made homeless after weeks of heavy rain.

The training programme will begin on Friday and carry on throughout the weekend, with the team engaging in various types of training including Swift Water rescue, mapping, reconnaissance, communications and a mass casualty search and rescue exercise.

The team will be deployed from the RNLI Ireland Divisional base in Dublin to make their way to Belleek in county Fermanagh.

They will also be joined by two members of Map Action, a charity that provides vital map information to emergency response teams for humanitarian disasters and relief situations around the world.

Half of the team will be flown from Baldonnel to a mountain in Leitrim and met by Sligo Mountain Rescue to embark on a 10km trek cross-country.

Part of the training will be in Swift Water Rescue techniques and this will take place at Cathleen’s Fall Power station in Ballyshannon. During this exercise the power plant will be switching on their turbines to create a fast flowing water current, which will test the teams ability to rescue casualties in major flooding conditions.

The culmination of the weekend will see a simulated flood disaster on Lough Erne in Enniskillen. This will include dealing with potential mass casualties over a 20 square mile area. The team will use all their specialist training and skills to deal with the simulated emergency as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Sounds like fun,doesn't it? But as the video below shows, it's preparing them for conditions that are anything but.

www.rnli.ie

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