Storm Force

July 2016 Storm Force event at RNLI Dart

July 16 was a glorious hot summer’s day and 41 young Storm Force members, mostly from South Devon but including two from Cornwall and North Wales, joined the children of the crew as they descended on RNLI Dart for the afternoon. Storm Force is the junior membership of the RNLI for children aged 7 to 11 years.
Some had taken the opportunity to visit the new RNLI Dartmouth Visitor Centre in the morning.
Once they had registered into five teams there were five different scenarios for them to visit. Lifeboat crewmen Buster Hart, Kevin Murphy, Jamie Mathys and Dean Nettleton explained how and why they used different stretchers on the boat to help seriously injured casualties. (See video of Launch 121 on 4 August 2011 on www.dartlifeboat.org.uk) The children and their parents were most impressed by the “Roll up stretcher” and how easy it was for the children to strap in a casualty and to carry them to safety.
Chris Rampling, RNLI Beach Lifeguard Supervisor, is also on the Dart lifeboat crew. He and fellow lifeguard Luke Lane brought the RNLI Lifeguard truck and all their equipment. They taught the children about the flags they use on the beaches and then showed them the First Aid and other equipment that they have available in the truck and on the beach.
Chris Tracey and Haydn Glanvill are both members of the Dart lifeboat crew but are also on the RNLI Flood Rescue team. They brought the Flood Rescue truck from the base at Saltash. They were joined by fellow Flood Rescue team member Marc Gibbons who had driven all the way from Barry Docks in South Wales to take part. Haydn entertained the children with stories of the difficulties they had when they were visiting flooded homes. The children were particularly glad that they had a dog pen to put pets in before they were lifted onto the boat. He also taught the children to use throw lines to rescue casualties in the water. Meanwhile CT and Marc, in the second Flood Rescue scenario, ‘rescued’ the entire group as they crossed a flooded river. The children put on lifejackets and safety harnesses before they were clipped to the line that crossed the water. The line is at an angle to the flow of the water so that it helps carry them as they are hauled across. Once there the children formed teams of 5, holding onto each other in a triangle for safety’s sake. When the casualty was reached they were placed in the centre of the triangle as the team retraced their steps.
Last, but certainly not least, they found their way to the ‘cliff face’ behind the lifeboat station where Jai Prettyjohns and his team from the Dartmouth Coastguard Search and Cliff Rescue team were waiting. They showed the teams the safety equipment they use when they work on the cliffs, before carefully allowing the children to be hauled a short distance up.
After a break for refreshments whilst the various teams moved to the North Embankment of the Dart, the children were escorted to watch the launch of the D class inshore lifeboat.
The Coastguard team then performed a ‘tethered rescue’ where a coastguard swims out to a casualty whilst attached by a rope to his colleagues ashore.
Luke Lame, the lifeguard, had to work very hard as he first rescued lifeboat crewman Haydn Glanvill using a rescue tube, before having to rescue him a second time as Haydn had returned to the water and become ‘unconscious’. This time Luke used a rescue board and all the watchers lining the Embankment were most impressed to see how he used the board to flip the unconscious casualty over and bring him ashore.

Not to be outdone the lifeboat crew carried out what is now a routine ‘man overboard’ drill but then anchored off the Embankment and veered back to the steps. This allows the crew to exactly position the boat so that a casualty can simply step aboard, for instance from a rock where they have become trapped.
The children then returned to the lifeboat station for their Goodie bags before going on their way celebrating a great day out.

Photographs will be found on the Photo tab on this web site.

RNLI Education SW regional News September 2012
One event that really stood out was the Dart Storm Force afternoon in July. The afternoon was headed up by Dr John Fenton and the team from Dart Lifeboat Station and saw over 40 Storm Force members attending. A number of education volunteers came along to help out with the event which was a great example of ‘One RNLI’ working together. There were a number of different activities for the children to do with scenarios including the RNLI’s Dart lifeboat crew, local RNLI lifeguards, RNLI flood rescue and the local Coastguard team. The children had a fantastic day and huge thanks must go out to the team at Dart. This was the first Storm Force event in the South West to be run and organised by a lifeboat station in its entirety and proves a successful model for other stations to follow in the future. In fact Burnham-On-Sea Lifeboat Station has already agreed to hold its own Storm Force event in October.

Photos of the event can be found under the Photos tab at the top of this page.

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