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Preparing for the slippery slope

Published 10/12/2013

Rescuing people from isolated areas requires special skills - a fact Victoria State Emergency Service's (SES) Woodend Unit is all too aware of.

In recent months, the unit has helped Ambulance Victoria a number of times to carry injured casualties out of Lerderderg State Park and surrounding areas. This has included assisting injured hikers and motorbike riders who have come to grief while out enjoying their free time. Woodend training

To better prepare for such events, 15 Woodend volunteer members undertook a training exercise in Samuel Court, Woodend recently to learn about casualty packaging and slope evacuations using rope rescue systems.

Woodend SES Training Section Leader, Brenda Addicoat, said these events were always labour intensive, with significant efforts required to carry injured persons out of some very remote areas, packaged in stretchers.

“A recent joint response with Gisborne SES saw crews carrying out one casualty for six hours to a waiting Ambulance,” she said.

“Last night’s training saw two teams set up mechanical advantage hauling systems using a variety of anchor systems and equipment and then move a packaged casualty up a 60 metre, steep slope."

“Exercises such as this give the members a chance to practice skills such as setting up anchor systems, hauling system, knots and lashing, casualty handling, lighting and most importantly, brings together the teamwork that is needed during these type of calls.

“Members undertake a wide variety of training in areas such as first aid, chainsaws, storm damage repairs, rope rescue, road crash rescue and many other skills when they join SES. It’s very much training for life with many skills usable both at work and at home.”

This financial year has seen the Woodend Unit respond to over 121 requests for assistance from the community thus far, both in the local area and in support of SES units in Gisborne, Kilmore and Heathcote.

For more information on volunteering with SES, visit our Volunteering page.