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Bogong annual group exercise
Last weekend’s Bogong Group Exercise was a great success after weeks of planning by the Group Training Officer Neil Hillas with support from other members of the Bogong Group Management Team and Brigade Training Officers.
***Story by David Box, Bogong Group***
Members of Bogong Group, which is comprised of fourteen brigades stretching from Falls Creek through to Stanley, met at the Yackandandah Sports Park (staging area) for an early start on a sunny October Sunday morning.
Following an opening welcome from Group Officer Ron Leary, Deputy Group Officer Mark Burbidge, who acted as Incident Controller for the exercise, delivered the SMEACS briefing for the round robin style event.
The eleven crews, most of whom were newly qualified firefighters, were told the focus of the morning’s activities would be on mentoring, shared learning and skills maintenance. This provided a positive start to our exercise.
The highlight of the seven activities was the Gas Industries Mobile Prop supplied by CFA’s OT&V department .
CFA’s new demonstration model concept trailer pump was also used to draw water from a collar tank and supply a boosting relay using two tankers.
Both old and new tankers were contrasted in drafting from Yackandandah Creek, and a tanker entrapment or burn-over drill.
The “Where’s Wally” fire ground navigation question session in the shade was a welcome relief after the rake hoe activity.
Last but not least was an MVA rescue lesson and demonstration by Yackandandah SES with assistance from the Mount Beauty Brigade.
Brigade Captains and Training Officers acted as Sector Commanders and instructors and provided a friendly and supportive learning environment. There was plenty for all to do with each crew rotating around to a different prop every 30 minutes.
The District 24 FOV (Forward Operations Vehicle) was in attendance with our new Volunteer Local Command Facility Support Team members answering on-scene and departure messages from crews and situation reports from Sector Commanders. A third channel in the communications plan catered for Mayday calls, all combining to provide valuable experience for this team.
The Group also took the opportunity to conduct a Strike Team Leader’s Forum during the morning. In the lead up to this coming Fire Danger Period, those in attendance discussed issues that have been attended to after last year’s 2013/14 post season After Action Reviews at both the Group and District level, as well as what we can expect for this coming season.
We all had a well-earned feed thanks to the volunteers at the local Yackandandah Lions Club. After an AAR debrief, District 24 OIC Paul King provided some closing remarks about fire ground safety, leaders intent, aircraft availability and expected conditions this year.
All involved in the morning said they had a good time and appreciated the opportunities to work with neighbouring brigades in practising fire ground skills. They are also looking forward to the next time we can get together in training at this level.
Many of those in attendance are valuing the opportunity to take some ideas from the morning back for future training at their home brigades.
One member even took the time to write a positive reply to the Group of their morning’s experiences. Thank you also to volunteers for the photographs taken during the morning and made available for our use.