I think most of us will agree that the last year was probably the fastest and most intensive years of our lives so far. From the outset our introduction with the TL was rather daunting, we sat listening and watching all the things we would be learning in what looked like would take up the next ten years and all to be covered in our first year most of which was totally alien to us all, from search techniques to forensics, stretcher handling to first aid, rigging up ropes in numerous ways to learning comms speak! Never mind the endless amount of kit that may have well been from another planet! I could go on. The one thing I’ve learned in this game is you never stop learning. I think it’s safe to say we walked away from that first night totally gob smacked at what lay ahead of us but at the same time we couldn’t wait to get started it all sounded totally amazing!
So the training starts. Around 500hrs of it and we get to meet all the new faces and the challenge of remembering all these new names, we soon mastered that which is more than can be said for some of the full team members haha. It soon became apparent what a fantastic bunch of guys these were and how helpful and knowledgeable they all are and how little we actually knew, daunting is an understatement!
So the training goes on, it fast becomes the norm spending all these hours training cementing new friendships along the way and slowly things start to sink in and you get more and more involved with what’s going on around you but standing back looking how these guys operate with military precision and professionalism is astounding and it feels so good to be given the opportunity to be like these guys one day!
So 7 months fly by and things are looking on course so it’s agreed we would be allowed on the callout list, this is when your life changes dramatically, constantly checking you have signal on yourphone, bag packed and ready to go, my partner didn’t take very kindly to me getting into bed wearing my boots though (joke). So waiting for that first callout seems to take forever but it came and what an amazing feeling it is to actually go and put everything you’ve been learning into practice and see how well everything works and falls into place! So the year goes on and more training topics get chucked into the mix like the bank responder course which was excellent and got put to good use at the end of the year as the team was deployed to the Lakedistrict and York to help with the flood relief meanwhile the dreaded final assessments start to loom.
The pressure is really on now and all these hours of training and hard work could all be for nothing if we don’t pull this off and pass our assessments to be a full team member. I can safely say, although we were all a tad nervous but thankfully we all successfully did it, some a little more nervous than others eh Rob Ellis haha.
As trainees right from the beginning we all bonded nicely and helped each other, encouraged each other and gave each other plenty of stick, it worked really well for us! So along came the legendary Crowden Trainee Weekend where all the newbies from the Peak District teams get together and basically have a blast and put into practice everything we’ve learnt so far at the same time as meeting lots of great new people. It certainly lived up to myths we heard so much about!
So the first year comes to an end and what a year it was, full of highs and lows im sure there’s been a moment when we’ve all thought what the hell am I doing here, 1 such night that springs to mind is the stretcher gate night, that night was designed along with the weather to try the patience of a saint but experiences like that are what make us who we are! We’ve learnt so much and
there’s still lots to learn and perfect, the experiences are just second to none as is the training we receive and from me and all the others newbies we would like to say a huge thank you to all that have taken the time and patience to teach us everything we know, it is very much appreciated and won’t be forgotten, we all feel very proud to be part of the team and look forward to many more years in MR.
From all the new team members: Dave Haffenden, Alan Knox, Ian Usher, Rob Ellis, Steve Cullabine, Tony Amies.
Thanks to Steve Cullabine for sharing this with us.