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Pub in trouble in Orbost exercise
With the street outside the Orbost Club Hotel teeming with emergency services and the Bronto heaving into action, the owner of the pub lamented, “What a terrible weekend. The Swans lose and now the pub burns down!”
The scenario for the exercise organised by Orbost Captain Dick Johnstone was a kitchen fire and gas leak which affected at least eight patrons upstairs in the pub.
“The goal was to get new breathing-apparatus-qualified members through,” said Dick, “and bring the emergency services together. Look at us and SES. We’re in different coloured overalls but they support us at fires and we support them at rescues.
“We started off with a briefing from me then worked three sectors: BA, rescue and hose lay. We had seven from Marlo and five from Mallacoota helping SES with patient removals. We got six from Orbost, four from Mallacoota and one from Marlo through BA and they went through between 16 and 18 cylinders. That went very well.”
Traralgon attended the exercise not only with the Bronto but also their BA van manned by three of their volunteers.
The 400-kilometre round trip for Traralgon members and 300-kilometre round trip for Mallacoota really demonstrate the emphasis given to interagency exercises, the commitment of members and, perhaps, the pleasures of a Sunday drive.
“We don’t get the opportunity to see much of the Bronto,” continued Dick, “so this gave us all a kick along. Newmerella pumped into Orbost and we pumped into the Bronto. It’s quite a thing to see it go up and carry out a rescue and it creates an interest in the members.
“The thing that didn’t go so well was radio communications. The crews weren’t relaying enough information back. An exercise coming up with SES in November will give us the chance to work on that.
“Overall, we were really happy with how it went. Thanks to the crews and to Operations Officer Daryll Hunter who put us in the right direction and gave me some tips.”
Orbost Fire Brigade has about ten very active members and turns out an average of once a week.
“I take my hat off to Dick,” said Newmerella Captain Des Ryan. “He and Daryll did a great job.
“The hose lay went very well for the five from our brigade. We had never had cause to use a closed circuit relay pump but we put it together and it worked.”
Newmerella has a gas plant in their brigade area and will be attending at exercise there later this month with Orbost Fire Brigade.
“There’s an emergency services request that we have one training day there a year,” continued Des, “and we get involved with Victoria Police there.”
The brigade has 23 members, about ten of whom are operational. They turned out about 50 times last year and spent a busy fire season in and around Goongerah.
Thanks to Noel McWilliams for the photos of Dick Johnstone.