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The sound of rescue
Wildfire Instructor Tony Scicluna’s office in District 12’s Seymour HQ is much like any other.
Maps of the local terrain are at the ready, spread across open plan desks. A coffee cup sits half filled next to dozens of encyclopedia-thick training manuals. You can hear magpies and cockatoos quarrelling in the distance.
A profoundly sombre reminder of Tony’s decades of service sits behind his desk, adorning the wall in a simple quote:
“I knew help was coming when I heard the chainsaws in the distance…”
Black Saturday survivor, Clonbinane, 8 February 2009
Tony recently reflected on that day recently. “This quote was said to me by a badly-burnt resident and neighbour on 8 February after a few CFA vols and I spent hours on the Sunday morning cutting our way towards his property.
“He lost everything on his property and spent the Saturday night huddled in the remains of his property nursing his serious injuries with no communication to the outside world. When we got to him that was the first thing he said.
“He later told me he was in a state of shock and despair and when he heard the chainsaws it lifted his spirits and kept him positive until we got to him hours later.
“I’ll never forget that moment."
“I always appreciated how integral a tool of our trade the chainsaw is for CFA,
but before then I never realised how profound the sound of a chainsaw could signal rescue.”
That moment has been one of the driving forces behind Tony’s commitment to ensuring chainsaw crosscut training was back on CFA's agenda and building chainsaw training trailers to facilitate that training statewide.
Together with his Wildfire Instructor colleagues Mike Evans from Colac, Geordie Akeroyd from Bairnsdale and DCO Operations Training Gregg Paterson, Tony recently filmed a video with a new trailer to highlight this training equipment to members.
“Our aim is to build the CFA chainsaw capability across the state.”
DCO Gregg Paterson agreed with Tony. “Chainsaws are probably one of the most frequently used tools on our rural tankers.”
With chainsaw operator and train-the trainer training available to brigades, DCO Paterson emphasised that Mike, Geordie and Tony were subject matter experts who brigades could draw on.
To find out more about booking chainsaw training for your brigade contact your local district HQ.
Already an experienced chainsaw operator?
“We know we’ve got a lot of experienced chainsaw operators among our members. If you want the accreditation, you don’t need to do the whole course, just book in for the assessment,” DCO Paterson explained.
Watch Tony, Geordie and Mike’s chainsaw trailer training video here: