Over 50 NSW SES Volunteers Tackle Simulated Disaster in Sydney


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NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from around the state responded to nine unique mass disaster rescue scenarios this weekend at the State Disaster Rescue Challenge.

Held over three days at Narrabeen in Sydney, the competition tested the skills of more than 50 SES volunteers in situations that mimic real-life disasters, including responding to mass casualty events, extricating people from entrapment and confined spaces, retrieving casualties from heights, and search and rescue scenarios.

One of the biggest SES events of the calendar, the State Disaster Rescue Challenge required the support of one hundred and forty logistics, transport and rescue exercise specialists to create realistic and safe scenarios.

NSW SES Acting Assistant Commissioner Brigid Rice said Disaster Rescue Challenges, which have been running since 1988 in NSW, are an engaging way for SES members to put their knowledge and experience to the test.

"The realistic scenarios in the Disaster Rescue Challenge really reinforce the skills of our units in disaster response, which they can then translate into response to real life emergencies," Acting Assistant Commissioner Rice said.

Extensive preparation went into making this year's event as realistic as possible, with moulage (the art of applying make-up and prosthetics to simulate injury) applied to dozens of role players on site, enhancing the realism for rescue operators.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Rice said teams take preparation extremely seriously, often training together for months ahead of the event.

"This is crucial for team development because not only are we testing volunteers' skills, but their ability to work together as a team and lead each other through challenging circumstances.

"Ultimately this leads to highly trained teams, serving our communities and keeping the residents of New South Wales safe," Acting Assistant Commissioner Rice said.

he winner of this year's event will represent the NSW SES at the National Disaster Rescue Challenge, to be held in Sydney on the 28th and 29th of September.

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