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Firefighters abseil 25 metre shaft in rescue exercise

Firefighters abseil 25 metre shaft for dramatic rescue exercise

8 March 2016

Firefighters used a newly-built, 25m-deep shaft, the equivalent height of a nine storey building, on Ramsgate’s cliff top to test their rescue skills on Saturday (March 5).

The mock rescue mirrored scenarios such as mine shaft or sinkhole falls and cliff incidents. For the exercise, a dummy was used to represent an injured person who had fallen down the hole. Local crews from Ramsgate abseiled down the shaft to treat the casualty. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service line rescue team then set up their specialist rescue gear to bring them back up to safety.

Dave Hudson, KFRS Watch Manager, was one of the firefighters to abseil down the shaft to treat the casualty. He said: "We often deal with line rescue situations, but this was an extraordinary opportunity to hone our skills. To put the depth of the shaft into perspective, it was the equivalent of abseiling down the side of a nine-storey block of flats.

"Crews are confronted with a huge range of emergencies and it is important that we regularly practice techniques in order to be ready for every eventuality.

"We are very grateful to Southern Water and its construction partner MGjv for giving us the chance to use the shaft for our exercise."

The shaft construction at Government Acre is the latest phase in Southern Water's £3million pipeline replacement project on Ramsgate seafront, aimed at helping to protect the environment and ensuring wastewater is removed effectively.

Southern Water Project Manager Andy Arnold said: "We were pleased to assist our local firefighters by letting them use the shaft for their exercise. Partnership working is important to us and this was an unusual opportunity for them to practice skills that was too good to miss."

Notes to Editors:

The shaft has been built using pre-cast concrete sections. It is 25m deep and 4.5m in diameter.

The £3million pipeline project is part of Southern Water's wider programme of sewer improvement works in the Thanet area, which represents an investment of more than £80million over 10 years.

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