Students take part in NI’s largest sea rescue exercise

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PUBLIC Services students from South Eastern Regional College’s Lisburn Campus took part in Operation Diamond, Northern Ireland’s largest live sea rescue exercise.

The coastguard, fire service and RNLI lifeboat crews from six stations were involved in the dramatic air sea mock rescue.

Operation Diamond, which took place on Belfast Lough, also involved crews from Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Helicopters, rescue boats and about 360 people were involved. The mock situation was a rescue from a sinking passenger ferry with 50 passengers on board. The purpose of this task was to thoroughly test the preparation of all the organisations likely to be involved in a major incident at sea, off the coast of Northern Ireland.

Students were taken to Bangor Leisure Centre where they were issued with an “immersion survivor” badge and a role-play character, which may or may not have had a medical condition.

This opportunity allowed the students to see the agencies in action at various points of the exercise. They were also given a guided talk in the Fire Service’s Incident Control Unit. Students will use this exercise to aid them in the ‘Planning and Management of Major Incidents’ unit of their course.