The Phoenix Parsons exercise was held as part of the Incident Management Team Training Project (IMTTP) to exercise incident controllers and at the same time offered the opportunity for skills maintenance for a wide range of IMT members.
The exercise was held in Sale and involved the scenario of bushfire burning out of control and threatening a large township.
The opportunity to exercise 40 people proved extremely worthwhile according to Regional Incident Management Team Capability Coordinator Noel McWilliams, who helped organise the event.
“Everyone liked the opportunity to gain experience and practise their skills in their Incident Management Team roles without having the additional pressure of a real fire. We used mentors to assist people in primary roles and they provided valuable assistance particularly in the Planning and Logistics sections,” Noel said.
“The fire was hard to control and teams had to deal with issues around evacuation and whether it was possible with the available time and space. The Incident Management Team decided not to evacuate as there just wasn’t enough time.”
The incident was overseen by Regional Commander Mike Owen and the Incident Controller for the first shift was Operations Manager Mark Jones and Operations Manager Bryan Russell for the second shift.
“It was good to work through the process for changeover from afternoon to night shift and the handover from old to new crew. It also gave us an opportunity to exercise more people,” said Noel.
“An extra fire started during the changeover and decisions had to be made on how to best manage the new fire. They decided to run it with two Operations Officers – one for each fire under the control of the one Incident Controller.
“Thanks to all those who had input and the IMTTP teams for providing a realistic scenario and providing overall management of the exercise,” Noel said.