Training Weekend December 2014 – Fort William



Training last weekend involved helicopter familiarisation with Rescue 137. We are indebted to the RAF  for the help they give us in getting the S.A.R.D.A dogs used to the helicopters. There is a lot to learn about the techniques involved in winching and travelling in these aircraft.

Thank you also to Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team for the use of their base for the day, and to Julie and her daughters for providing the lovely soup and rolls!

After a comprehensive safety briefing, handlers took their dogs in and out of the helicopter. One engine was then started and dogs kept firmly secured on both harness and lead whilst they were given the chance to become accustomed to the engine noise. After this, the helicopter was powered up so that both engines were running and the rotor blades turning. After another opportunity for the dogs  to become familiar with the increased amount of noise and the down draft from the blades, the helicopter crew flew down to Glen Nevis where the handlers and dogs were winched.

We all got the opportunity to relax later as we had our S.A.R.D.A Scotland Christmas meal with our usual  selection of Secret Santa presents handed out by a rather dubious Santa – sorry Santa we don’t mean that really.

It was back to searching areas on Sunday in somewhat challenging weather conditions including hail storms, thunder and lightning. The young dogs will train each month now (no time off for them) in the run up to the annual course in March when they will undergo their assessment to become novice search dogs and hopefully be put on the call out list. They are now beginning to search bigger areas in preparation for the assessment.



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