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COTAG Exercise 2008

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COTAG 4x4 negotiating a steep grassy slope between rocks. The first COTAG team, 'COTAG Team One', moved carefully towards the crash site negotiating boggy ground, steep grassy slopes (which can be surprisingly dangerous) and rocky outcrops. In this scenario the first team encountered a locked gate and had to despatch two of its three vehicles to backtrack and make contact with the keyholder. This is exactly the type of event that occurs in real situations.

The safety policy of vehicles moving in pairs was quickly endorsed as the lead vehicle became immobilised in an area of soft ground. Skilled use of a KERR (Kinetic Energy Recovery Rope) however soon had things moving again. Whilst an extremely valuable tool for vehicle recovery, a KERR is also highly dangerous. A failed KERR operation has the potential to cause death or serious injury and is not something to be undertaken without training and a thorough understanding of the potential consequences.

Whilst COTAG Team One was busy establishing a route the Red Cross were busy consolidating their FCP base. Located within an inflatable tent kindly loaned by ARCC Kinloss the Red Cross team established their radio control and injury treatment areas. The amount of medical equipment carried by the Red Cross in their Emergency Response Vehicles is truly impressive; seeing it deployed makes it immediately clear what a significant contribution the Red Cross make in real-world emergencies all over the world.

With a workable route to the aircraft established, Red Cross vehicle negotiating soft ground. COTAG Team Two and Team Three were despatched together to escort a Red Cross 4x4 to the crash site. The Red Cross vehicle, though fully capable in most off-road situations likely to be encountered, was expected to struggle in the challenging conditions of the exercise area. In a real situation it would most likely be RAF Mountain Rescue 4x4s that would be deployed, and these would require no assistance from COTAG.


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