Australasian Rescue Challenge 2019 Team Profile: Port Macquarie Unit

The Australasian Rescue Challenge is an annual event where teams from emergency service agencies around Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong come to compete in a series of challenges.

Twenty-one teams with 120 rescue and medical personnel will converge on Dubbo this month to compete in three road crash rescue scenarios including entrapped, controlled and time critical as well as a CPR and trauma challenge.

Port Macquarie Unit Commander Michael Ward will be leading his award-winning team into the challenge again this year after competing in the 2014,2015 and 2018 events.

“We’re a busy NSW SES Unit with around 60 volunteers on the Mid North Coast of NSW,” says Unit Commander Michael Ward.

Michael’s Unit is responsible for responding to accidents on a large chunk of the notorious M1 Pacific Motorway and are often the first people on scene.

“Our Unit averages one request for assistance per day,” says Michael. “These can be anything from tarping a roof to long and complicated rescue operations.”

“We also cover the Port Macquarie Regional Airport and have responded to light aircraft incidents in the past.”

The Port Macquarie Unit will be bringing a team to the Australasian Rescue Challenge who come from a variety of professions. Michael is a Civil Engineer and Registered Land Surveyor, medic Toby Messina is a Doctor at Port Macquarie Hospital with fellow medic Michael Brumby working as an Electrical Engineer.

Their tool operators also come from diverse professional backgrounds. Kevin Sherwood is a Financier, Alfred Portenschlager is a Corporate Process and Systems Trainer while Katie Blake works as a TAFE trainer and Hospitality Manager.

“Volunteers get out of the NSW State Emergency Service what they put in – the more you become involved, the more experiences you obtain and the more friends you make,” says Unit Commander Michael Ward.

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