All new probationary team members bring with them skills that are built upon in structured training sessions. SMRT aims to teach a set of ‘measureable’ skills in order to guide new members through their initial training period. The period of time taken by each individual to demonstrate proficiency in the prescribed skill areas will vary dependent upon factors such as previous experience and the number of training sessions attended. Typically twelve to eighteen months will be required although this could be reduced in exceptional circumstances.
Completion of the ‘measureable’ skills forms only part of the training syllabus. During the probationary period SMRT would expect to see a progressive increase in a members confidence through experience, demonstration of a positive attitude and development of the professionalism required of an emergency service.
The team trains every second and third Wednesday of the month and the last Sunday of every month, concentrating on topics such as search management, casualty care, navigation, ropework, stretcher handling, communication skills, underground search/casualty care/evacuation, working with helicopters and how the team operates.
Additionally team members attend a monthly equipment night on the first Wednesday of every month to ensure that equipment is maintained in line with current standards/schedules, this also provides team members with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with specialist pieces of equipment that they might not use as regularly as others.
In addition to the regular schedule there are opportunities for additional training in specialised areas of casualty care, equipment inspection, swiftwater rescue or to train and become a member of the Search and Rescue Dog Association (SARDA). All additional training is undertaken once the individual becomes a full team member and is often fitted in around their regular team commitments.