THERE were dramatic scenes as the emergency services raced to rescue sailors whose boats collided on a lake.
As rescuers plunged into the freezing water of Horsea Lake last night, specially-trained dogs were brought in to aid firefighters, Coastguard and paramedics.
The idea of the day is to show and tell each other what our skills are, what equipment we have and what our abilities areSimon Whelan
Meanwhile, police were on standby as to help their colleagues identify the victims.
But all was not as it seemed.
The huge operation was a rehearsal for the emergency services to test how to rescue people in water. Once a year Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Hampshire Constabulary support unit, South Central Ambulance Service’s Hazardous Area Response Teams (Hart) and the Coastguard take part in the training exercise.
Last night more than 60 people took part in the mock accident on the lake in Port Solent with many of the casualties being played by the Hampshire Police Cadets and trainee paramedics.
Simon Whelan, from the fire service, organised the exercise.
He said: ‘The idea of the day is to show and tell each other what our skills are, what equipment we have and what our abilities are. It’s so that when we go to a real incident we are better able to work together and use our skills to collaborate for a successful closure to the incident.’
After practising drills in the afternoon, the exercise took place after dark.
Mr Whelan added: ‘It’s very cold and we have the added excitement of it being in the dark – which brings a whole new dimension to what’s going on.
‘There are communication issues and accountability – we need to know where everyone is, at all times.’
Firefighters tested their boating skills while the Hart team shared advice on how to deal with casualties suffering from hypothermia and police demonstrated how to deal with protecting evidence following a major incident.