The brain-child of Support Services Manager Ron Wilding MBE, the Rig, or ‘Tracy Island’ as it has become known locally (named after the fictional home of the Tracy Family in the 1960’s TV series ‘Thunderbirds’) can be configured to be used by HART staff while wearing Breathing Apparatus, or to simulate a collapsed structure for Urban Search and Rescue training, and due to its intriguing internal layout it will also pose some interesting issues around the packaging and extrication of casualties.
Ron was inspired by discussions between the instructors about how useful a confined space training rig would be on-site, so he produced a unique type of blueprint from a number of cardboard boxes – a model that was used as the template for the builders who worked tirelessly to create what is, despite first impressions, a very complex and versatile training facility.
With three levels of crawl space running down each side of the container and several lateral tunnels, the footprint of the container has been utilised incredibly well thus maximising the potential training area. Add to this the various simulated environments contained within, including entanglement hazards, reduced friction floor surfaces and a variety of breaches, this unit can be quickly adapted and altered in order to maintain the innovative training delivered at the Centre.
Says NARU Operational Command Lead Sid Murphy: “The new training rig has already been incorporated into the course programme for the forthcoming Incident Response Unit Course which will start at the beginning of June, and the instructors are already thinking of other cunning ways to incorporate it into other programmes – especially after Ron made them all go through the rig in BA to ‘test’ it, although having seen them afterwards it could be argued that it was the Instructors and not the rig that was truly put through its paces!”
NARU Head of Education Dave Bull QAM says: “This facility shows that good ideas can progress to become reality. The benefits created by this innovative facility will be made use of by as many candidates as possible. It also goes to show that training facilities can be pragmatic and relatively inexpensive, but equally high impact for candidate learning. Well done to Ron and the team in taking this forward and turning an idea from cardboard boxes into reality.”