The prospect of rummaging round the pitch black interior of the derelict Crown Hotel for a BA drill held no qualms for our crew from North Lowestoft Fire Station.
After all, we're rufty-tufty firefighters - right?
Rufty-tufty disappeared sharpish when you're gathered together in the smoke blackened kitchen and you see 'Help me' scrawled in the grime and you hear a low moaning sound from the gloom.Â
I digress - anybody would think this was an episode of Most Haunted which, incidentally, did feature the Crown Hotel.
There were two search and rescue scenario's for us to do.
I was No. 1 on the first scenario with Seb as my No. 2 managing the charged 45.
The brief was to follow the left-hand wall through the front bar carrying out search and rescue to also include a raised seating area.
We made good progress following the bench seating round to the inner front doors and this is where we found our first casualty. Seb grabbed the casualty and I led us back out to BAECO.
Straight back in and quickly retrace our steps to where we had found the casualty. A few more steps and we were up on the raised seating area trying not to get ourselves too tangled in the furniture and wrapping the hose round the pillars.
When we had reached the far side of the seating area we found another casualty and again made our way back out to BAECO.
With a quick check of how much air we had left we committed on to the second scenario.
This time we would be taking the hosereel into the rear bar / dance floor, again with a search and rescue brief.
We changed places - Seb taking the lead and me looking after hose management.
This time there seemed to be even more chairs and tables to contend with plus loads of pillars to get the hosereel wrapped around.
We made good progress and found two casualties - always a bonus considering that's what we went in there for!
Once all three teams had completed their wears we were able to take a look round where we had been searching. Never ceases to amaze me that the place looks much smaller when you can actually see it. In the dark when you're just feeling your way around it somehow seems much bigger...
Thankfully we didn't come face-to-face with any ghostly apparitions although I thought I did see something spooky at one point. It was only after my brain had taken a couple of seconds to process it that I realised the ghostly face was that of a BA Instructor Rudi Mann lit up by the glow from the thermal image camera!
Joking aside it was really beneficial to do a BA drill off-site. I think we can't help but be in 'drill mode' when we wear in the Smoke House at Lowestoft South Fire Station. Using a derelict and haunted (maybe) hotel added a degree of realism to the drill.