NSW State Emergency Service (SES) reigning champions Port Macquarie Unit have won the 2019 State Disaster Rescue Challenge – Exercise Thunderstruck.
NSW SES volunteers from Dapto, Port Macquarie, Auburn, Bathurst, Canada Bay, Gosford, Waverley-Woollahra and Queanbeyan participated in the bi-annual Challenge last weekend (24-26 May) at Albion Park Rail. The Challenge tested the capability and skills of NSW SES volunteers in responding to natural disasters and emergencies.
Over the three days, teams competed in a series of activities and life critical scenarios to demonstrate their ability in diverse situations. In addition to rescue skills teams were judged on team work, safety and leadership.
Volunteers from Port Macquarie Unit won the competition, with members from Waverly-Woollahra and Queanbeyan coming close second and third. Port Macquarie will now represent the NSW SES in the National Disaster Rescue Challenge (NDRC) in November in the Illawarra, competing against representatives from each State.
“It was an outstanding weekend for the NSW SES and an opportunity to showcase the depth of skills, diversity and capability of our volunteers”, says NSW SES Commissioner Kyle Stewart.
The winning team demonstrates the diversity of the NSW SES. “We’re an equal mix of men and women who come from many different backgrounds. This diversity strengthened the capability of our team”, say Michael Ward, Port Macquarie Unit Commander.
There are four categories within the competition. In addition to the winner Bathurst Unit won the Spirit of the Challenge Award, and the Best Performing Role-player was Anjelica Karagiannis from Canterbury Unit. Port Macquarie also won the Safety Award.
“Congratulations to Port Macquarie and all the teams for highlighting the capability and skills NSW SES of volunteers and their commitment to the communities of NSW.”
Volunteers also played ‘casualties,’ complete with life-like wounds and fake injuries. NSW SES is committed to ongoing training and practical activities to ensure volunteers are ready to help and support communities in times of disaster.
“Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the development and conduct of the Challenge – Exercise Thunderstruck. We are looking forward to competing in the National Disaster Rescue Challenge,” says Commissioner Kyle Stewart.