Around twenty of our club members arose early on the morning of Sunday March 24th and drove to Phoenix House, Catterick Garrison to attend the MVT 2019 Safety Day.
After managing to get past the Gurkha at the gate, we joined about 40 members of the MVT and other clubs in taking part in four courses which throughout the day, covered aspects of Fire Safety, First Aid, Basic Radio procedure and Armoured Vehicle Marshalling.
All of us crammed into one room to take the Fire training, which was conducted by Gordon Smith from the Fire Training Cell at RAF Leeming. He took us through types of fire and the different exstinguishers and techniques used to extinguish them.
After this we were split into 3 groups and we went on to the Armoured Vehicle Marshalling. Although fine, the day was seriously chilly when you got outside. The un-availability of a tank saw us using a modern LWB Jeep, as a tank with the driver only responding to hand signals and pre- movement verbal instructions.
Instructor Kevin and the MVT use a four man ‘bubble system’, with one marshal at each side and one at the rear with the man at the front in charge and doing all the signals.
We all took turns at being the head marshal and seemed to make a reasonable job of it, despite being interrupted by a young lady who kept deliberately getting too close to the moving vehicle, and a driver, who did his upmost not to take instruction.
This was an excellent exercise, despite taking ages in the cold and blustery wind.
Our group then adjourned to the cafeteria where everyone had started their roast lunch, kindly provided by the Help for Heroes staff. We were the last in and missed our rhubarb crumble, but it was nice to have something warm to eat.
After lunch we took part in the First Aid section. This was run by Geoff and Ken who some of us had met before. They took us through what to do in various situations, recovery position, basic CPR, and use of the defibrillator.
Again we all had to take the part of the victim and the first responder. I was paired with Malcolm and he was a great help when I forgot something. It is always handy when the victim can help you out.
Final course of the day was the radio procedure run by John Dorman. John supplied us all with a radio and showed what buttons and knobs did what. Although I had used them before, it was a long time ago and opted for the first timer section.
Unfortunately that involved me outside in the rain, and Trevor giving me instructions to find things and report back using radio lingo. A good 30mins later I was allowed back in after completing all the tasks.
All the basics completed we all got back together for a de-brief and to find out that we had all passed and were now able to collect and wear our official MVT Marshals day-glo tabards.
Now it was time to go up on to the range to check out the course. It was raining quite a bit by now, but a round half of us went round in civilian 4×4’s.
I know the area quite well and we have used one of the other training grounds Brava-one-Alpha a couple of times in the distant past. But all the access routes to the moor have changed and we seemed to go for miles to get to an entrance, that before, you just turned off the road to.
Martin, the Range Training Officer, escorted us round the massive area, pointing out the various obstacles, such as the knife edge, the water splash, the trench gap both small and large and the step. He explained the best way to take each of them and pointed out the best way to cross some of the more muddier sections.
It was now 5pm and the rain was getting heavier, so it was decided to call it a day. I must extend our thanks to David and Doris for organizing, all who ran the courses and for the members of all the clubs, who travelled quite long distances in order to take part.