Dublin Civil Defence Team Training at the Terrafirma Training Centre, Castledermot, Co Kildare

Sunday, 19th August 2018 – We were delighted to welcome the Dublin Civil Defence (Hägglunds unit) and support vehicles to Terrafirma Training (TFT) for a training and team co-ordination day.  Several of the volunteers had attended TFT previously on a training weekend, set up in close co-operation with Dublin Civil Defence’s Commanding Officer James McConnell, which saw the volunteers undergo training in 4×4 off-road driving.  In the words of CDO McConnell, the training undertaken at TFT paid dividends in the severe weather of Storm Emma in March 2018 and that all organisations using 4×4’s would greatly benefit from completing such training.

The Hägglunds group split into two teams to maximise their hands-on time of piloting the Hägglunds across varying terrain, including the two lagoons we have at TFT, with the transition from dry land to amphibious mode being demonstrated by the Hägglunds experienced team leader, Civil Defence volunteer Robbie Dunne. With an experienced vehicle commander in control all the volunteers had the opportunity to drive the very capable all-terrain vehicle on solid ground, or terra firma (what a great name for a company), and in an amphibious role. Winching, boat launch and slip-way training was also covered during the weekend.

Health and safety and driver/operator/crew members welfare plays a major generic role in any of our courses presented at TFT and, with this in mind, all the Hägglunds team carried out a route reconnoitre to ascertain that the intended route of travel was within the vehicle’s capabilities but, more importantly, the driver/operator’s capabilities.  At TFT we have adopted the mantra of “if in doubt – stay out”.

The afternoon training session saw the full team, along with Hägglunds and all support 4×4 vehicles, take on a pre-determined route set by us at TFT, where the use of all associated vehicles and equipment, such as vehicle-mounted winch systems, were used to extricate a simulated stricken 4×4 vehicle in a safe and controlled manner.  Training ceased at 6.30 pm and all headed back to the main parking area where all vehicles and equipment were cleaned, checked and readied for return to unit.   A full debriefing was carried out and the feedback ascertained on the usefulness of the day all agreed that the training centre at TFT had everything the Hägglunds team needed for operating the vehicles in a training scenario for when they are called out in a real-life situation in the future.

Kevin Jones and Thomas Greene of TFT would like to publicly thank Dublin Civil Defence and all Civil Defence units throughout the country for the time and hard work they put into keeping us, the public, safe in many different situations.

We look forward to continuing our training relationship with all Civil Defence units and volunteers, whether it be Severe Weather and Off-Road Driver training or winch training, we are proud to be associated with such a well-run and professional organisation.

ENDS