Emergency services stage mass casualty bus accident exercise

Member News image A training exercise involving a bus rollover


CFA led a multi-agency exercise to test and strengthen how emergency services respond to mass casualty incidents similar to the 2023 Eynesbury bus incident.


The exercise was a huge undertaking with 90 first responders from CFA, SES, Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police and St John Ambulance taking part, as well as 27 students from La Trobe University who acted as casualties.

Trawool Captain Sean Kerris said the exercise required significant planning and wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of all involved.

“It was a challenge to bring the exercise vision to life but the lessons will be invaluable for our first responders,” he said.

“Our emergency service personnel will have a better understanding and ability to navigate very confronting emergencies if they arise after this exercise.”

First responders were first briefed on the scenario when the exercise got underway to ensure their response was as realistic as possible.

The scenario involved a hypothetical bus accident in which the bus driver suffered a cardiac arrest while driving.

The bus then veered off the road as a result and into a music festival hitting several campers.

There were more than 30 passengers on board the bus at the time who suffered injuries of varying degrees from the bus rollover.

The scenario was influenced by recent tragic events such as the 2023 Eynesbury bus incident and the 2023 Hunter Valley NSW incident.

The objective of the exercise was to test and improve the way emergency services work together when responding to large-scale emergencies.

VICSES Seymour Unit Controller Christine Welsh said it’s important VICSES volunteers are prepared for any scenario and these exercises play a vital role in upskilling and nurturing important inter-agency teamwork.

“These relationships are particularly important in regional areas and have been an ongoing focus of VICSES’ Seymour Unit volunteers over the past 12 months," she said.

“VICSES volunteers pride themselves on being there to support their communities during a challenging emergency response, and these training exercises only strengthen that resolve.”

The scenario was chosen because music festivals are commonly held in the region and the scale of such events can present unique challenges for emergency responders.

The exercise required high level coordination and was supported by Seymour Coaches, Seymour Caravans & Trailers, Rotary Club, Seymour RSL, Seymour Performers Workshop, Cox Solid Civil and Mitchell Shire Council in addition to emergency services organisations.

More than 30 people were on site in a supporting capacity last week in Trawool.


  • Member News imageFirst responders work to free those trapped in bus
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  • Member News image Representatives from St Johns, Ambulance Victoria, CFA, SES and Victoria Police
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Submitted by CFA Media