VICSES enhances road crash coverage in state’s west

VICSES enhances road crash coverage in state’s west

19/10/2023, 1:00 PM

VICSES volunteers, staff, and assessors from Western Region pose for a photo following the successful completion of the Road Crash Rescue training program (credit: VICSES)

The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) will enhance its Road Crash Rescue (RCR) capability in the state’s Western Region, with the addition of 8 specialist volunteer operators from Horsham and Warracknabeal Units.

These RCR specialists successfully qualified last weekend following an intensive course of training and assessment held over four days at Modern Horsham Heavy Towing (MHHT), which supplied six vehicles - at no charge - for use by our volunteers for training and assessments.

VICSES is grateful for the necessary gift of these vehicles and for the use of the MHHT yard over four full days.

RCR training and assessments take around 35 hours to complete. All agencies involved in RCR response work to the same exacting standards to qualify to provide RCR coverage throughout the state.

The assessment process takes place in two parts; the ‘capability assessment’ - which involves a live simulation of a crash - and ‘administrative assessment’, which looks at equipment, personnel, response statistics, and overall performance.

During the simulation, assessors look for a strong command structure from the volunteers and a safe and systematic approach to extricating those trapped in the vehicle. VICSES volunteers demonstrate these skills during the simulation by showing they can work with other agencies to plan the best outcome for the patient, utilising tools such as hydraulic cutters and spreaders - or  the 'jaws of life' - handling the patient safely and mitigating hazards, such as fuels, airbags, and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

VICSES recently overhauled the Road Rescue Capability Assessment program, to ensure that assessors include key stakeholders from across the sector so improvements are actioned without delay.

As well as qualifying to manage an incident, RCR operators across the emergency management sector learn how protect and preserve the scene of an incident.

A further intake of 14 volunteers from the South West - VICSES Port Fairy, Hamilton, Dunkeld, Warrnambool, and Heywood Units - will begin a round of training and assessment this coming weekend at a Country Fire Authority (CFA) facility at Penshurst. This new intake will serve to strengthen our daytime capability in particular, as they begin to come online throughout the region.

VICSES volunteers provide 85% of RCR coverage across Victoria, with each of our 104 principal RCR-accredited units reassessed every three years in line with the other agencies that manage RCR incidents. These include Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV); Country Fire Authority (CFA); Echuca Moama Search and Rescue Squad, and Shepparton Search and Rescue.

In the last financial year alone (2022/23), VICSES volunteers responded to 1,516 RCR incidents in support of Victoria Police, spending over 12,000 hours in total at RCR incidents.

VICSES couldn’t be more proud of its RCR volunteer operators for the investment of time they make to obtain these critical skills.

If you would like to donate a vehicle for use by our volunteers in RCR training, VICSES assessors are especially interested in newer models that have modern strengthening features like boron steel and side-intrusion bars, which are more resistant against our tools. Donated cars do not need to be operational.

To donate a car, contact your local region office.

Interested in volunteering with VICSES? Join Us.

To read more stories about our work in RCR, click here.