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COTAG team on exercise
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COTAG Exercise 2008

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The WRVS, renowned for being able to produce a hot cup of tea in almost any location and under any circumstances, maintained their reputation. Faced with an initial equipment failure they applied their characteristic resourcefulness and produced hot tea and coffee for the rapidly rising numbers of participants.

In a wider incident scenario this resourcefulness is significant because of the morale lifting effect hot food and drink can have upon distressed members of the public and tired relief personnel. The sadly increasing incidents of flooding around the UK for example have produced endless images of cold and shocked members of the public. Although of course not a cure, the uplifting effect of hot food and drink should not be underestimated, and the WRVS is a great asset in such circumstances.

While the various agencies gathered at the rendezvous point (RVP) for a full briefing, Skywatch CAP was busy scouring the area along the route of the downed aircraft and its last known position. Contrary to what might be expected a downed light aircraft represents a very small object to locate from the air, even when its course and approximate crash position are known.

The skill of the Skywatch pilots cannot really be overstated given that they are conducting a structured visual search of a target area while still flying their aircraft safely. Skywatch represents an invaluable voluntary service providing airborne search expertise to supplement the regular professionals in times of need. COTAG 4x4 Response is therefore very pleased to be associated with the Skywatch CAP organisation.

COTAG vehicle having crossed a ridge.

Having located the aircraft crash site the grid reference was radioed down to the Skywatch ground control officer and passed to the Incident Commander. This allows the person on the ground who is in overall control to allocate resources and make initial operational decisions. It was at this point in the exercise that the various agencies who would be directly involved - namely COTAG, Red Cross and the Grampian Police and RAYNET observers - moved closer to the crash site.

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