SARA Wyre Forest Rescue Station volunteers headed to Bala in North Wales to take part in an all Wales Flood Exercise called Exercise Berwyn. The scenario is becoming increasingly common in recent years, the small town of Bala was cut off by flood water and there were many missing casualties. The SARA crew travelled to the flooded village on the afternoon of the 9th April where they played the part of flood refugees in the local leisure centre who were testing their ability to provide an emergency rest centre. Following dinner the crew took part in a night exercise on Lake Bala. The team worked closely with the RNLI Flood Team and other Mountain Rescue teams to search for 20 missing casualties in the floodwater. The crew finally got their chance to rest in the early hours of the morning but this wasn’t to last long as breakfast was at 6am! Throughout the morning Mountain Rescue teams, Fire services, Ambulance HART teams, RAF Rescue, RSPCA, the AA and many more services from across the UK arrived at the holding area ready to be tasked to many realistic scenarios. The scenarios ranged from a car in a river, a submerged caravan, missing people and even a trapped horse.
SARA crews continued the search from the pervious night before being tasked to four people stranded precariously in a submerged caravan. SARA 8 hurried to the caravan from the opposite end of Lake Bala, once on scene the boat crew recovered two of the casualties onto the boat but with limited space and being too dangerous for the other casualties to move along the roof of the caravan an RAF Rescue Sea King helicopter was called to assist. With the aid of the huge Sea King, the caravan was swiftly abandoned to the floodwater and the SARA crew returned to the holding area before another tasking to assist the RAF Mountain Rescue Team with a bank search for missing people along a swollen river. With all casualties accounted for and volunteer rescue crews tested to their limits over the previous 36 hours, Bala once again returned to a quiet, peaceful Welsh lakeside town. SARA crews made the journey back to base in Kidderminster and prepared their equipment ready for the next real call out.
SARA is crewed entirely by volunteers who are on call 24 hours a day to assist the emergency services, while usually holding down a full time paid job too. As a Charity we are totally reliant on public donations, if you feel that you are able to make a donation you can text SARA73 £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.