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As part of our work as ecologists here at ACD Environmental, we are required on some sites to work in/close to water when surveying for particular species such as great crested newt, otter, and water vole and for surveying bridges for roosting bats and nesting birds. As such, some of our team recently completed a course related to water safety, specifically the DEFRA Level 2 Water & Flood First Responder course, which was run by Bristol Maritime Academy. The course was spread over two days and comprised online, classroom, and practical training on (actually that should be in) the River Frome. The initial booking for the practical training was postponed because it was snowing! This was sensible.

The theory comprised awareness of the hazards and risks associated with water; knowledge to carry out basic land-based (shout, reach, and throw) rescue techniques; the basic principles and safety measures required to keep ourselves and our colleagues safe; onsite safety risk assessments; appropriate use of PPE; setting-up an emergency action plan; and coordinating emergency procedures. The practical comprised of how to move, rescue, and control ourselves and colleagues in moving water; the use of PPE and rescue equipment, including throw bags, reach and rescue poles; and life jacket training in the water.

For the revised booking for the practical training (not snowing!), there had been a lot of rainfall and the force of the current was challenging, even in the sections of the river that appeared slower flowing from out of the water. It required a lot of effort and teamwork and we all successfully completed the course having learned a lot.

Please feel free to get in touch with any aquatic or terrestrial surveys you that may require.