September 22 2014 Latest news:
Janine Rasiah, Senior Reporter
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Urban Search and Rescue responders are honing their skills at the newly opened London Fire Brigade training centre in Beckton.
Recorder reporter Janine Rasiah visited to see whether she had what it takes.
I’ve always seen myself as a bit of an action girl but crawling on my hands and knees along a 45-inch high tunnel proved to be a reality check.
Although it doesn’t help that my fetching boiling suit and workman boots combo was rather, shall we say, oversized, I can hardly blame my loose helmet rattling against the makeshift ceiling for the ensuing waves of claustrophobia.
And that’s before Simon Redferry, a USAR trainer-reponder, points out the realistic greying hand artfully hidden in some rubble, prompting me to shriek back to photographer Ellie.
It’s not the most comfortable of experiences (I felt like I could do with an oxygen mask at several points) but it’s an interesting insight into the working conditions of the highly specialised team tasked with carrying out complex missions to rescue trapped victims, as well as a clear indication that it is not for the faint hearted.
Turning around in the narrow space in order to make my escape might have proved challenging yet returning to lungfuls of fresh air was more than welcome.