CFA’s Werribee Fire Brigade racked up the accolades last month, travelling interstate and taking out the top spot in the 2021 NSW State Road Crash Rescue Challenge.
As the only interstate exception, a team of five members from Werribee and one from Wyndham Vale brigade were asked to compete against teams from Fire and Rescue NSW and SES.
The three-day competition was held in Mogo, NSW from 21 May to 23 May and assessed teams on their teamwork, efficiency and techniques across a range of different scenarios.
Rescue team Commander and Werribee Firefighter Daniel May said the team worked together first across various rescue and EMR response scenarios and placed first overall.
“One of the rescue events involved two patients inside a vehicle which had flipped on its side. We had 30 minutes to extricate the patients, one which was physically entrapped and one that was mechanically entrapped, both with varying degrees of injury,” Daniel said.
“We participated in a trauma challenge simulating a woman who had fallen and injured herself and we were judged on how we assessed her hear rate, blood pressure and identified her injuries.
“The team worked really productively together over the three days.”
Rescue team member and Werribee firefighter Neil Davie said these competitions help the crew hone their skills and work better as a team for when they attend real incidents.
“It’s great to speak with and observe other rescue crews across various emergency service organisations to take on new techniques and advice which can be applied at real incident sites,” he said.
“There’s a bit of banter between crews, but overall, it’s an ideal networking opportunity and a chance to knowledge share with a bit of fun.
“We participate in a fair bit of training and debriefing in the two months leading up to this competition.
“Our team has worked together since early 2018 when we competed in the Australasian Rescue Challenge, so we know how each other operate and our roles on scene but trips like this help us get to know one another even more.
“We are very grateful to those in New South Wales who allowed us to take part in their competition, as well as the CFA, ACFO Rick Owen and the Werribee Fire Brigade for their ongoing support.”
Back in Werribee, hours after the brigade were handed their results for the road rescue challenge, several members of the team were responded with the brigade to a complex motor vehicle collision where they employed these skills in a real-life scenario.
“We turned out to a truck v car collision with a person trapped and we had to assess the scene and formulate a complex extrication strategy, which took more than an hour,” Daniel said.
“This was one of the tougher jobs in recent memory and the success of our crew at this incident was a direct result of the techniques we had learned at competitions over the years.”
Werribee’s NSW State Road Rescue Challenge results:
1st Place – Firefighter down challenge
1st Place – Entrapped rescue
1st Place – Controlled rescue
1st Place – Best team leader
1st Place – Best medical team
1st Place – Best technical team
1st Place – Overall