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'One with the Lot' at Orbost
It was a pleasant sunday morning at Orbost and the troops were gathering for a briefing.
It looked like a strike team had gathered at Orbost fire station, Marlo Tanker, Newmeralla Tankers 1 & 2, Orbost Tanker and Pumper were lined up and waiting for the boys from District 10 to arrive with Traralgon BA support and Traralgon Ladder Platform. Mallacoota slipon and FCV were also on the way but were held up by a turnout to a washaway along the the road.
Dick Johnstone (Orbost Captain) had organised an exercise for his BA teams to evacuate and search the bottom pub and asked for the BA support and the Bronte from Traralgon to give his crews practise utilising some different gear. His supporting brigades (Marlo, Newmeralla and Mallacouta) were also invited so the crews could all work together. Everyone was kitted up and ready to go, Dick gave his briefing, detailed the radio channels, reminded the crews to hydrate and to be gentle with the volunteer victims for the search (who were the family of the local vicpol representative). Darryl Hunter the relieving D11 Operations Officer finished the safety briefing and they kicked off the exercise at 11am.
The response was staged a bit so there weren't too many trucks turning up at once and the area was soon chockers with vehicles, the pump was set up on the hydrant and BA crews assembled for the initial search. BA control set up early with a big board to keep tally of the search, the support brigades started to arrive and set up water feeds for the aerial appliance and supplemented the BA search crews.
The Orbost SES crew arrived and were set up with the BA search crews to provide triage and support for the evacuees.
A small crowd had started to gather and watched in interest as the Bronto was set up for a rescue off the verandah, there was some discussion about doing a lift off the back roof but the lift off the verandah won the day. Once the "rescue" was completed the local news photographer was taken for a ride to full extension to demonstrate the capabilities of the ladder platform.
The BA search had now completed and all the victims were accounted for, the BA support crews were busy refilling cylinders and explaining to the crews how to best lay out their gear for cleaning and replenishment.
Once all the gear was packed up crews returned to the station for a meal which had been prepared by the Orbost members and a debrief from the exercise, there were a few items noted to improve on next time and a hearty thanks to all the members who had attended to make the day a success. Dick thanked the local brigades for their support and to Daryll for his helping in organising the exercise.