All hands on deck for paper mill rescue

All hands on deck for paper mill rescue

10/09/2021, 3:09 PM

Just before 09.00am this morning, volunteers from the Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) Corio Unit, were called to take part in a sizeable, multi-agency effort to assist Ambulance Victoria in the rescue of an injured patient.

Dispatching from local unit headquarters at approximately 08.30am this morning, volunteers arrived to see that the patient had fallen down an embankment on to uneven terrain, and was under heavy canopy, in the area of Paper Mills Road.

Together with members from the local Country Fire Authority, Fire Rescue Victoria and Victoria Police, our volunteers worked hard to assist Ambulance Victoria in the safe retrieval of the patient., with support provided by air ambulance members.

Given the high winds and canopy cover, VICSES Corio Unit volunteers worked with the other agency commanders on scene, with a contingency plan in place in the instance of an unsuccessful retrieval.

VICSES volunteers then cut back canopy cover so the air ambulance had better access to and visibility of the patient, with a VICSES volunteer mounting a wall adjacent to the tree - harnessed and secured with safety lines - using an electric chainsaw to cut the tree down and reveal the patient to the air ambulance team.

Given the wind turbulence, VICSES volunteers worked to secure access to a nearby building where they could carry the patient out if needed.

The operation went on for just under four hours, ending at around midday. VICSES Corio Unit deployed both a heavy rescue and support vehicle, with seven volunteers participating.

Quote attributable to VICSES Commander, Corio Unit, Nigel Cunningham:

“The situation was difficult. Getting access to the patient required waiting for one of the shed owners to let us through."

"Additionally, emergency personnel had a constrained pathway to the patient. To get to the patient rescue teams had to descend an old ladder and walk along the sides of the stone walls which once formed part of the water course for the paper mill, and climb down another wall.”