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St Leonards major exercise
It was all on for young and old on Monday 12 August, when St Leonards-Indented Head brigade conducted a major multi-brigade exercise to test their pre-incident response plan for the Indented Head Boat Club.
To the locals, it is just the local hall and boat club, but to the Brigade it is classified as a special risk for one reason- the building is almost entirely made of ‘Super 6’ asbestos. From the wall cladding, to the roof sheets to the gutters and downpipes, the hall poses a major risk to the local community should it ever be involved in fire.
In line with the escalation plan for the hall, volunteer members from St Leonards-Indented Head, Portarlington, Drysdale and Leopold, were joined by career staff from Geelong City and the newly integrated Ocean Grove station to test the plan.
To create a realistic environment, Brigades were paged to respond to a structure fire at the boat club and turned out to ‘Training Vicfire’. Initial crews on scene aimed to build the picture for the oncoming appliances- a structure fire well alight with persons reported missing.
What ensued was a major search and rescue exercise with members in BA extracting casualties from the hall, external attack lines with BA and members wearing dust marks as a precautionary measure, a first aid triage area dealing with casualties awaiting ambulance, road closures, sectorisation and ultimately the Geelong City Ladder Platform setting up and assisting with the ‘fire fight’.
After the usual bumpy start in getting crews on scene, the 10 appliances sited and working and getting the fire ground structure in place, the exercise progressed well. Total appliances on scene for the exercise were: 1 ladder platform, 4 pumpers, 2 tankers, 1 slip on, 2 command and control cars, 2 lighting trailers - the list goes on! All crews worked together effectively, given the usual challenges of communications and luckily the weather held off until the end of the exercise. There were many
learning opportunities for both the host Brigade, along with the other Brigades in attendance and these will be integrated into the PIP.
After closing down the exercise, the 60 or so members (including instructors from District 7 and the RDO) returned to the St Leonards station for a debrief and a BBQ. Captain Niki Habibis thanked everyone for their attendance and input into the night. Ocean Grove Station Officer Adrian Bryan thanked the Brigade for the invitation to attend and the opportunity to meet and work with members from Brigades on the Bellarine Peninsula. DGO Wayne Noble and RDO Brendan Lawson also congratulated the Brigade on their efforts in putting the night together.
A huge thanks go to Mannerim Fire Brigade for generously loaning their BBQ trailer for the night, and to Bellarine Bayside for allowing us to conduct the exercise at the hall.