Serve On – Water Rescue Training

December 6, 2015 in General

The Emergency Fire and Rescue Unit (EFRU) recently sent five members to attend a water rescue course in the UK.  The course was delivered by Serve On – an organisation based in Salisbury in the South West of England.

The group received training in Water Rescue Levels One and Two, in accordance with UK national standards.  These standards have been agreed across the United Kingdom Fire and Rescue community and are recognised by the UK Government.

The Level Two standard enables teams to enter water and carry out rescue operations that can be achieved with wading crews.

The training took place at the facilities of Salisbury Fire Station and the local rivers in and around the Salisbury areas. The course began with covering the theory of water rescue, which covered the relevant standards, safe working practices, managing risk and the importance of maintaining situational awareness.

The course then progressed to covering and practicing the techniques required to walk through moving and still water, how to protect oneself in the event of falling into the water and how to carry out both self-rescue and rescue within a team.

Further into the course, the group joined members of the Serve On Community Resilience Team to carry out a joint training exercise and put into practice their newly acquired knowledge and skills.  The exercise commenced with refresher training within the two groups so as to consolidate the training of the previous two days, as well as building trust and communication skills between the groups.  An essential aspect covered during the initial part of the exercise was the importance of training and working to common standards, thus facilitating different groups of rescue workers to join forces without the risk of conflicting methodology.

The groups were then presented with several scenarios where teams had to work together to achieve the rescue of casualties from a range of different locations.  Each scenario presented the teams with different challenges, all of which required the teams to utilise their skills, work together and communicate effectively in order to achieve their aim.  Some members were given the opportunity (under supervision) to act as team leaders during the exercise.

The training received by the EFRU group will serve to better prepare them for their emergency work in Malta, both in water rescue as well as in other aspects of rescue;as certain techniques covered – such as the implementation of dynamic risk assessment – are common to all emergency scenarios.

Deborah Cefai
EFRU Rescuer


This project has been funded with support from the VO Fund managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS). This project/publication reflects the views only of the author, and the MCVS cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.