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SES & CFA show Ambulance Victoria the ropes

Published 21/06/2016

Members of the joint CFA and SES Technical Rescue Team put their skills to the test on the Queen’s Birthday by participating in a high angle rescue demonstration as a part of the Ambulance Victoria Safety and Survival course, held in the Cathedral Range State Park, in the state’s North East.

SES Operations Officer Andrew Feagan said the work done between SES and CFA to standardise steep and high angle rescue continued to pay dividends. 

"Being able to work jointly with the team from Air Ambulance further shows how technical rescue is leading the multi-agency approach," he said.

The Safety and Survival course is an intensive three-day course that is a part of the process to become a Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) Flight or Flight Paramedic.  The course sees participants navigate through the bush while learning vital safety and survival skills, which also includes camping overnight in sub zero temperatures.  A key component of the course is gaining a practical awareness of height safety and basic safety procedures of recreational rock climbing set ups and technical high angle rescue systems.

The joint Technical Rescue Team consisted of High Angle Instructors, High Angle Technicians and High Angle Operators from Dandenong CFA, Steep Angle Operator from Monbulk CFA and a High Angle Instructor from SES who provided a practical demonstration of a basic high angle rescue set up.  This demonstration allowed for all course participants to be lowered over a 20m cliff edge to gain firsthand experience of how a high angle rescue system works. 

Ambulance Victoria Manager Air Operations Anthony De Wit said the Safety and Survival course had been run for approximately eight years now.

It gave the five participants a fantastic opportunity to experience high angle rescue in a training environment so they have an education, awareness and understanding of some of the situations they may face when they are working with other emergency services colleagues.

This training opportunity was also utilised to liaise with the local CFA brigade (Buxton) after a technical rescue occurred in the same area in November last year.  This opportunity gave Buxton Captain, Shanon Frith the chance to gain a greater insight into the work done by CFA and SES Technical Rescue teams.

CFA Operations Officer Doug Broom said the interaction between all agencies on the day was seamless. 

"Being able to provide high angle rescue awareness training to Ambulance Victoria paramedics will provide even greater flexibility operationally," he said.