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Nathalia & Numurkah exercise
Brigades from around Nathalia and Numurkah started warning up for the fire season last Sunday 22 September at a group exercise involving wildfire suppression, gas cylinder fire, motor vehicle accident and water drafting.
(Story by Annie Anderson, Media liaison officer)
More than eighty personal in 18 CFA vehicles, along with a strike team from Southern Border Region and the Forward Operations Vehicle from Wunghnu, took part in a four scenario group exercise.
Also at the exercise were Rural Ambulance Victoria (RAV) from Numurkah, Nathalia Cert, CFA instructors from Wangaratta training ground, and crew and tanker from Oxley Flats (District 23).
Operations Manager Rob Van Dorsser and Operations Officer Shane Sutton represented District 22, while from RFS the Southern Border Team and District Officer John McGrath attended.
The exercise involved four activities, wildfire suppression, gas cylinder fire, motor vehicle accident (MVA) and water drafting.
The wildfire suppression exercise was designed to make brigade members aware of dangerous trees, working around machinery, working in conjunction with aircraft and developing situational awareness on the fire ground.
Gas cylinder fire demonstration gave the members an opportunity to get hot and wet; with a hands-on four man fog attack.
Under the watchful eye of the two instructors from Wangaratta, our members learnt the correct procedure for dealing with venting gas cylinders. Two cylinders were set alight and the brigade members had to use the four man fog attack to spray the cylinders to cool them, than move in closer, one step at a time, adjusting the spray nozzle to engulf the flame.
Wunghnu Auto Wrecker bought across three damaged cars to demonstrate rescue and fire suppression at Motor Vehicle Accidents. Two CERT members supplemented the Ambulance members in demonstrating casualty evacuation.
The exercise also demonstrated the activation of car air bags, which can be a hazard to rescuers, as well as emergency vehicle positioning in relation to the accident.
The final exercise involved drafting water from the creek and demonstrating the pumping volume of the new tanker. These new tankers are from Strathmerton, Yarroweyah and Wunghnu.
Certain procedures, such as the Entrapment Procedure are to be followed if the tanker were to be surrounded by wildfire. Safety is paramount - and this exercise cannot be practised enough as it should be second nature for all crew members to know what to do in this situation.
The exercise also involved setting up a Staging Area at the Community Centre, where all vehicles register, before being deployed to the fire ground. A level two Incident Control Centre (ICC), in the Local command facility in the DSE office was also set up for communications, logistics and planning, as well as the FOV for field communications and keeping a log of the communications.
All participants agreed that it is an extremely worthwhile exercise and know that it will only strengthen future cooperation between all services.
Pre-summer season exercises allows fire fighters to hone their skills in fire fighting, safety, rescue and strategy for the season ahead.
Many thanks to Ash Lewis from Wunghnu Wreckers for the supply of 3 damaged vehicles for our MVA scenario and to Roving Roast for a satisfying meal at the end of the exercise.
A special thank-you must go to members from District 23, New South Wales strike team all brigade members from Barmah, Kotupna and Nathalia brigades from the Nathalia Group and all brigade members from the Numurkah group for making the day a success.