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SES, CFA's interoperability day

Published 08/07/2013

Benalla’s emergency service volunteers banded together recently to share skills and build a relationship.

With an ‘all agencies, all hazards’ approach the order of the day across Victoria, organisations are working more closely together than ever to ensure a better result for their communities. Benalla interoperability day

To that end, Benalla’s local Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) Unit and Country Fire Authority (CFA) Brigade held their first interoperability day recently.

The day was all about SES and CFA volunteers coming together to get to know each other in a fun environment instead of meeting each other at an accident. The theme of the day was for SES and CFA to change roles and experience what the other service did in their day-to-day operations with a scenario at the end to put all their new skills into practise.

CFA volunteers underwent road rescue training where they were given an overview on the different techniques and equipment that SES uses at road rescues. They learnt of the different techniques used to remove doors, manage glass, create roof flaps and gain access to difficult areas and finished with an overview of how to set up and use a lighting trailer.

SES Volunteers attended the CFA training ground where they were shown all the equipment that CFA carry on their vehicles, how to connect their hoses and the different techniques they use to extinguish a fire. They had to set up different hoses and various equipment, such as a hydrant to an urban pumper and an urban pumper to a rural tanker, use different sprays from 38mm hoses and received a demonstration of the crew safety system. 

Once each agency had an overview of the different skills, a scenario was prepared containing a single vehicle accident with three people trapped. CFA volunteers used SES equipment to conduct the rescue - removing the driver and passenger doors, removing the b pillar (the pillar between the two doors), performing a roof flat (folding the roof back) and then performing a dash role (pushing the front of the car away from the occupants) before removing the three casualties from the vehicle. Once the rescue was complete the car caught fire and SES volunteers had to use CFA equipment to contain the fire using the skills and techniques learned earlier. After a debrief a barbecue lunch was provided for volunteers to continue socialising.

The day was a success with Benalla SES and CFA volunteers working together, building alliances and walking away with new skills and experiences. The experience was an eye opener for many volunteers and gave them an understanding of what the other agencies roles are at a road rescue while experiencing a road rescue from a different perspective.

The Benalla SES and CFA are working hard to build the relationships between agencies and will look at undertaking similar training days in the future.