In case of emergency, dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Police

    Friday, 01 February 2019 10:47

    Snow causes 'heavy-metal Jenga' on Haldon Hill.

    Written by

    Callout 03/2019 - Haldon Hill, various locations 14:19 31st January 2019

    Rescue team members undertaking welfare checks on the A380 at Haldon Hill, Exeter

    As part of our role in the multi-agency response to snow events on Haldon Hill just outside Exeter, the team responded in preparation for an expected snow event.

    Bad weather (snow) was expected to hit Haldon Hill between 15:00 and 18:00 on the 31st January. Team search managers were involved with various briefings with the emergency services and Devon County Council emergency planners earlier in the week and placed the team on standby from midday on the 31st. All agencies prime objective was to keep members of the public and their teams safe, followed by keeping vehicles moving on the A38 and A380 road arteries.

    DART52 Land rover ambulance in the snow at Kingsteignton

    Team members and vehicles deployed to both sides of the hill from 15:00 to make sure members could reach any location. The East side of the hill was covered from Kennford and the West side Kingsteignton.

    The weather front was travelling from the west and affected Bodmin Moor in Cornwall during the afternoon causing major traffic disruption. It travelled slower than expected and didn't hit Kingsteignton until around 18:00 when conditions deteriorated quickly and snow soon began to cause problems on the A38/A380.

    Rescue team members undertaking welfare checks on the A380 at Haldon Hill, Exeter

    Within 30 minutes vehicles became stuck on both sides of the hill and teams were deployed to undertake welfare checks on drivers and their passengers Working with the other agencies members did their best to unblock the routes to let snow ploughs and gritters through and help vehicles that had become stuck to get on their way.

    Our team leader Keith Lambeth speaking to the 'i' national newspaper said:

    "We were looking for vulnerable people and those who were ill or with injuries. One family group included a one year old baby. Members stayed with them and made sure they were kept warm until the emergency services  arrived and they could get underway"

    "It was like heavy-metal Jenga with the stranded trucks. We pushed around 80 vehicles with muscle power to enable the gritters to get through."

    "We are all volunteers who live locally and when people are in trouble we do our very best to help. We usually operate on Dartmoor but we've been part of the response to Haldon Hill snow issues about eight times in the 15 years. Our members came from home and straight from work in some cases to help others."

    Team controllers stationed in our incident control vehicle at Kennford stand down around midnight

    "Rescue teams from across the SW region were out doing the same sort of work in their respective areas to help keep the county's roads free-flowing. We have the skills to help it's just what we do But we couldn't do it without the support of our families at home."

    The roads eventually reached some sort of normality around midnight although routes were still slippery in places. Team members returned to their homes having been deployed for around 8 hours.

     

     

    © 2018 DSRT Ashburton. All Rights Reserved. Charity Number: 1106098.