Manor hosts multi-brigade rescue operation

More than 50 volunteers from four brigades came together in October to stage a multi-brigade pumping and search and rescue training operation at Marybrooke Manor in Sherbrooke. 


Photos by Keith Pakenham AFSM

A test page from ESTA kicked off six months of planning for the nine-member organising committee and what would be one of the largest training exercises undertaken outside of the summer fire season.

More than 10 CFA appliances including Pumpers, BA van, FOV, and Tankers from Kallista The Patch, Monbulk, Sassafras, Dandenong Ranges Group, and Bayswater soon arrived, responding to reports of a fire and people trapped in the 60-bed reception complex.

Usually the site for glamourous weddings and high-teas, owner Andrew Judkin had graciously closed the Manor for the night to allow the exercise to take place within the building and across its expansive grounds.  

All lighting was off to make it as real as possible for BA teams, led by Sector Commander Lt Jane Davidson from Kallista, to complete their search and rescue operation. Their patients: a number of dummies which were repeatedly hidden within a maze of accommodation rooms, corridors, kitchens, and reception areas.

Running in tandem to the rescue operations under a second sector commander was six pumper/tankers pumping and boosting operation.

The exercise allowed roles for safety officers, a hazards search and advice team, FOV operators, first aiders, and four tanker crews and lines showing water. A dummy replacement team ensured the rescuers were kept busy searching across all areas of the Manor.  

OIC Captain Peter Toender from Kallista oversaw the night, supporting by 2OIC Jim Lawson, also from Kallista.

Peter said multi-brigade exercises build camaraderie which translates once they are out on a real fireground.

“It was absolutely brilliant to see so many brigades get together and enthusiastically drive this important exercise,” Peter said.

“The night also involved many of our pre-summer season skills activities, together with training with our major assets and fellow brigades; it brought many skills and many of us together.

“It also allowed for our younger members to jump in and experience incident response in a controlled environment.”

Further reading: Mt Rouse operational exercise an all-agency affair

Further reading: Mock rescue highlights interoperability

Author: Shaunnagh O'Loughlin