The Lyon Equipment Rescue Specialist 2-day Workshop

on 15 March 2016.

Over the years, Lyon Equipment has hosted a number of Technical Symposiums and Workshops aimed predominantly at the work at height and rescue sector. Our most recent event, based at our Training Centre at Tebay and our outdoor training venue at Lune's Bridge Gorge, was held in late February. The two-day workshop was fully booked very early on, with over 40 delegates from all over the UK attending.

Running an event involving in-water activities and rope rescue in February was not without uncertainty as we knew we would be subject to the vagaries of the winter weather in Cumbria. As it turned out, we needn't have worried as the weather on both days was near-perfect and we were blessed with some beautiful late winter sunshine for the sessions at Lune's Bridge Gorge.


The workshop began with a welcome address by Jonathan Capper, Lyon Equipment's Managing Director (Technical). This was followed by two excellent classroom sessions. Doctor Mark Taylor of Leeds University gave a 'cracking' and thought-provoking review of helmets and other personal protective equipment used in rescue including the performance standards - and their limitations – that apply to this equipment. The next session was a joint presentation by Chris Onions of R3 Safety & Rescue and Doctor Loel Collins from the University of Central Lancashire. Their session covered performance and developments of in-water quick-release harnesses and included the limitations of current equipment and research-based proposals for future use of personal floatation devices (PFDs). All in all, a very interesting morning with much valuable information presented for consideration.



The first session after lunch was a practical demonstration by the team from Technical Outdoor Solutions who showed various methods for rescuing clients from high ropes courses and zip-wires. The excellent demonstrations and the methods employed sparked some interesting discussion about the use of single lines for rescue. Next up was a highly interesting and entertaining demonstration by Richard Allmond of Treepartner and John Trenchard of Arbor Venture Training. Rich and John demonstrated a range of access and rescue skills as might be used in the arboriculture environment for tree canopy rescue. The demo gave a great insight into a little-known area that is considered by some to be a 'dark art'.


The final sessions for the day began with Andrew Griffiths of Droneflight providing a pragmatic view of the use of drones in rescue. This was followed by an honest, open and heart-felt presentation by Dale Harrison who was the Fire and Rescue Incident Commander at the Alton Towers 'Smiler' ride incident last year in which several people were seriously injured and the rescues took place in exceptionally challenging circumstances. This presentation provided a tremendous end to the day that served to focus everyone's minds on the role of the rescuer and the challenges that can be met. It was described by one delegate as "The best debrief I have ever attended. Honest and humble."


Day two of the Workshop began with a safety brief at Tebay before moving by coach to Lune's Bridge Gorge for three practical demonstrations. These began with a 'boat on a highline – putting research into practice' demonstration by the R3 Safety and Rescue team, showing how it is possible to safely and accurately manoeuvre an inflatable raft or boat on moving water using a highline operated from each bank. This was followed by our own Lyon Training Team demonstrating the use of an 'English Reeve' cableway/highline to perform rescue from water without getting your feet wet! Before they could do this, however, it was first necessary to 'launch' a messenger from one bank to the other before the technical rigging could commence and so we began with a demonstration of how this might be achieved using a 'Big Shot' catapult, a dog ball-thrower and – wait for it – a crossbow! The pictures below show the action.


While the other two activities took place, the Droneflight team provided a practical demonstration of their drones in flight and – while they were at it – filmed the R3SAR and Lyon teams in action.



The final workshop activity took place back at our Training Centre where our own Mark Davies gave his highly informative and increasingly popular 'myth-busting' presentation. During this session Mark neatly separated opinion from fact and dispelled a number of myths about work and height equipment and procedures. In one delegate's words, Mark provided "An excellent session. Very informative and created numerous discussions and debates".


We have been delighted with the feedback we have received following the Workshop and delegates agree that the event was highly relevant to experts from across the rescue spectrum and achieved our aim of broadening knowledge of rescue procedures employed in a wide cross-section of environments. Equally importantly, the event gave everyone opportunity to network and share ideas with others.


We are already looking to the next event and received some excellent suggestions for topics that could be included. Keep an eye on our Facebook site for information on this and our many other events.


"Always a valuable event to attend to maintain professional relations and share techniques and ideas. Long may it continue!" Paul Horridge, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

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  Lyon Work And Rescue, Unit 3-7, Tebay Business Park, Old Tebay, Cumbria. CA10 3SS    Tel:+44 (0)15396 24040

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