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New training initiative in Mt. Cottrell
Mount Cottrell Group recently undertook a new initiative, planning an urban group exercise.
By Station Officer Mark Bellew
The group exercise was derived from the Annual Training Plan at Hoppers Crossing which is managed by members of D-Platoon, volunteers and myself. This plan highlighted the fact that previously the brigade, group and CFA were very bushfire-focused in their annual training, and that we could cover our core business in urban firefighting in built-up areas a little better.
We wanted to start a group-based annual urban exercise to offer all the brigades an opportunity to be involved in a major exercise with significant complexities. This was an opportunity for members to conduct skills maintenance in qualified roles, but we also wanted to offer people the opportunity to step up in incident management roles and roles they had not previously been exposed to and mentor/assist them through these roles.
It was also an opportunity for the group to use/showcase some of its specialist skills and equipment, such as Melton’s decontamination trailer, and Truganina’s staging area trailer.
The exercise was a simulated nitric oxide leak from a laboratory, involving initial casualty rescue and emergency decontamination, with further examination using personnel in fully-encapsulated gas suits. This led to a full decontamination zone established with atmospheric monitoring in place, containment and then recovery of the chemical itself. Approximately 45 CFA personnel took part to combat the incident.
An on site debrief was held with members, giving them the opportunity to discuss learning points and, of course, the mandatory BBQ lunch provided by members of Hoppers Crossing Fire Brigade.
All in all, it was a fantastic opportunity for members of the Mt Cottrell Group of brigades to come together and complete some skills maintenance, as well as undertake a real-world scenario.
Images by Blair Dellemijn – CFA Photographer