Emerald Hall BA exercise

With Emerald Hall due for demolition, the date was set for a multiple brigade training exercise on Sunday 21 January 2018.


After Vicfire was notified, we fired up the three smoke machines, the hall complex quickly filled with smoke and the action began.

Visibility inside was extremely low. You couldn’t see your feet and getting down low wasn’t any better. There were also lots of ‘hazards’ inside the hall, from tables, ladders, marquees, stairs, and even the old stage area was used.

Upon entering the building, crews had to rely on proper search techniques and careful foot placement to find their way around the hall and hopefully locate one of the rescue dummies. The exercise also allowed for members who were not yet qualified in BA to experience wearing BA, (using their wildfire PPC). These newer members were paired up, mentored and supervised inside the building by a qualified wearer. For some, it was their first time in a smoky environment.

In the control point area, we had Bayswater BA and Yellingbo rehab unit, and Emerald Salvage ran the BA cleaning station.

Bayswater BA filled 42 cylinders on the day and Yellingbo rehab unit looked after the welfare of participants, especially important given the warm, humid weather.

As the hall is in a highly visible location on a busy roundabout, we also conducted a Facebook campaign beforehand advising the community about the possibility of ‘smoke’ in the area.

Overall, the exercise ran very smoothly and was a great learning experience for a lot of members performing roles that they had not previously done. As crews were exiting the building we certainly noticed plenty of smiles and a sense of accomplishment from participating in the exercise.

I appreciate all the members for participating on the day, which ultimately made it a successful training exercise.

Brigades that participated:

  • Emerald
  • Cockatoo
  • Menzies Creek
  • Sassafras-Ferny Creek
  • Kallista-The Patch
  • Bayswater
  • Yellingbo

Author: Adrian Trimnell