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Working with the local community
On a cold Monday night in May, Langwarrin Fire Brigade, along with neighbouring brigades Cranbourne and Pearcedale, were paged to attend a structure fire with reported persons missing at Cranbourne South Primary School in Cranbourne South, which is set in a semi-rural location.
By Gerry Sheridan
Thankfully, the incident wasn’t a real callout but an exercise that was developed by Langwarrin Fire Brigade in conjunction with the primary school.
The exercise known as ‘Exercise Langbourne’ examined CFA's response to a structure fire at a semi-rural location, with a focus on testing pre-plans, command and control, multi-brigade response and interactions, and local emergency management procedures of the school.
The scenario involved a structure fire at the primary school which was in multiple buildings, with reported persons missing. Members from the school council, brigade member partners and community members provided a real-life situation with a total of seven casualties presented through the night with various injuries.
Firefighters executed search and rescue operations and medical response as the casualties were assessed at the triage sector.
Reports to the fireground advised that an offender had fled the scene and managed to become impaled on a nearby fence. Langwarrin rescue crew along with paramedics rescued the male and packaged him for transportation to hospital.
In total 12 vehicles attended and around 50 fire personnel performing roles such as sector commanders, rescue officer in charge, BA operators, radio operators, pump operations and safety officers. Being a large complex job, there was a job for everyone in attendance.
A great night was had by all at this joint training exercise with future events to be developed with the community and partner agencies. Exercises such as these are important for crews to practise dealing with large-scale incidents and getting to know the local areas.
In attendance was school staff, school council members, City of Casey representatives, Ambulance Victoria and community members. School Principal Monique Corcoran said, “Thanks so much to all involved. This exercise allowed the school to interact with emergency services and test our emergency management plans in a controlled environment, though we hope we never have to enact them.”
Incident Controller Steve Butler said, “These events allow us to train with our neighbouring brigades and other agencies. It's also a great opportunity for the brigade to build relationships with our local community and test our emergency response capability.
“We can identify where we need to improve and this helps us to focus our training.”