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The US needs us - Dorset's life-savers head to the States
DORSET’S lifesavers will be taking part in a major flood rescue exercise in America.
A group of RNLI volunteers, including Gavin Steeden and John Deas from Swanage lifeboat, will be taking part in the exercise this week in North Carolina, USA.
During the week-long exercise the volunteers will work closely with the Charlotte Fire Department and North Carolina Emergency Management Team, as well as the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team.
The exercise will test the RNLI’s deployment process and logistics, equipment and how they work in a new overseas environment. All the volunteers are taking part in the course in their own time.
Martin Blaker-Rowe, who works as a lifeboat trainer at the RNLI College in Poole, said: “It’s exciting to be able to train alongside other emergency services and share expertise.
“Training is such an important part of what we do, and we’re lucky that the RNLI invests heavily in this and the right equipment so that we can react to an emergency flooding situation should it occur.”
Flood rescue team manager for the south Tom Mansell said: “Flooding is a regular occurrence in the USA and as a result, the emergency services have reputable expertise in the field.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to gain and share valuable knowledge and training in flood rescue and one I am very much looking forward to.”
Robin Goodlad, Flood Response Manager at the RNLI, said the opportunity to train with their US counterparts would be of huge benefit to the RNLI.
He said: “Similarly, we will bring our 190 years of water rescue expertise to share with our US counterparts.
“Our friends at US Airways have been incredibly generous in providing us with flights at a very low cost, which, as a charity with a responsibility to spend our generous donors’ money wisely, means we’re able to take advantage of this fantastic offer to draw on the experiences of our counterparts in the United States.”
One of the most challenging operations the RNLI’s Flood Rescue Team was sent to was in 2009 when Cockermouth in Cumbria, where 200 people were rescued from flood waters.
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