New training to help South Australia emergency workers in regional areas respond to major events
First responders in South Australia's south east are being trained to provide world-class search and rescue operations in the event of a major disaster in the region or internationally. The state's first regional disaster response training is being piloted in Mount Gambier, before being rolled out to other regions of South Australia. An urban search and rescue (USAR) cache of equipment and materials was recently delivered to the south east for local emergency service crews to use when responding to incidents such as trapped cars, confined-space rescues and building collapses where specialist skills are required. Around 120 personnel from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), State Emergency Service (SES), South Australia Ambulance Service and Country Fire Service (CFS), were trained in June 2020. MFS Commander of Operation Training and Technical Rescue, Duncan Cochrane, said trained personnel would be able to respond to intrastate, interstate and international incidents. “This is the first time we've done this in the state, so it's a pilot programme but already the intention is to take this program to other regions of the state and indeed come back to the south east,” Commander Cochrane said. “We're running programmes this week on confined space monitoring and car entrapment as obviously there's a significant local risk with underground caves and the timber industry down here.”
Over the weekend, trainees were involved in a major exercise simulating a vehicle being stuck under a log truck. “We've just completed a two-day heavy lift stabilisation programme, which is designed to lift anything from a concrete slab [and] large objects, which can be anything from large timber logs, to heavy containers,” said Commander Cochrane.
USAR was developed internationally a few decades ago in response to significant incidents involving building collapse, including the Christchurch earthquake, which USAR-trained personnel attended.
During the Kangaroo Island bushfires, USAR provided emergency accommodation for 150 people.
The training brings together the MFS, SES, South Australia Ambulance Service and CFS personnel providing a more seamless approach to dealing with major incidents.
“It gives us more resilience in a big incident but it also really brings the emergency services together and bridges some of the gaps that are created by the difference in colour and uniform,” said Commander Cochrane. He added, “It develops teamwork and familiarity so when these big incidents or disasters occur everyone just works seamlessly together. That's the whole intent of the programme. USAR, traditionally, has been around structural collapse from earthquake but obviously with world events recently, it's gone a lot beyond that and natural disasters is very much part of what the task force gets involved in,” Commander Cochrane said.
Source: ABC News Australia