Jackfield engineers undergo river safety training

Telford & Wrekin Council engineers working on the Jackfield Stabilisation Project have been undergoing swift water rescue training – ahead of work to reform the banks of the River Severn.

Jackfield engineers undergo river safety training

The training is similar to that undertaken by the emergency services and is being provided by Live The Adventure, who offer training to clients all over the world from their base in Stottesdon, near Bridgnorth.

Engineers for the council’s structures and geotechnics team have been joined on the training by staff from consultants Jacobs and the stabilisation project’s principal contractors McPhillips.

They are also joined by other engineers from the council who respond to flood emergencies and staff the temporary flood defences in Ironbridge when the river bursts its banks.

Neal Rushton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Group Manager for Structures and Geotechnics, said: "During the summer months, the work on the Jackfield Stabilisation Project will include reforming the south bank of the River Severn including placing large boulders on to the bank into the river channel.

"The training will mean this work can be supervised and delivered safely and has comprised of self rescue techniques, use of throw lines, rescue of casualties, hazard identification and risk assessment.

"It has taken place in the world famous Jackfield rapids which run through the main stabilisation so that the staff involved will be familiar with the river environment where they will be working."

Ant Eddies-Davies, of Live The Adventure, has over 25 years experience working in extreme water environments around the world and delivering water rescue courses internationally.

"It's so important that you have the right training if you are working near water, you never know what might happen," he said.

"It's always better to be aware of the hazards created by the environment you're working in, as well as having at least a basic understanding of water rescue techniques.

"We train people throughout the UK and Asia, from emergency services to defence personnel as our facilities allow us to give the right mix of practical and theory, but it's nice to be working with someone on our doorstep who are carrying out important work to help sustain the local environment."

The Jackfield Stabilisation Project has a budget of £17.6m including a council contribution of £5.6m. The work is well under way and approximately 75 per cent of the piles needed to stabilise the hillside have been installed.