A team of 9 volunteer Rural Fire Fighters from Fire Rescue New Zealand and the Rodney District Council Rural Fire Authority recently returned from participating in a Trans-Tasman rural fire training exercise in Australia. This training initiative was organised by Fire Rescue New Zealand in its capacity as a private rural fire service and a New Zealand Qualification Authority Registered and Accredited Tertiary Education Organisation to provide opportunities whereby volunteer rural fire fighters from New Zealand could interact with and observe the training and fire fighting techniques employed by the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (one of the most advanced rural fire services in the world) whilst at the same time extend our skills, learn new techniques, and bring what we learn back to New Zealand. On the weekend of the 6th, 7th and 8th of November, over 100 New South Wales Rural Fire Service volunteers from the Lake George Zone and a Kiwi contingent of Rural Fire Fighters from Fire & Rescue New Zealand took part in NAVEX which was held in Braidwood, New South Wales, Australia. This inaugural training exercise to hone the volunteer’s skills, practise techniques learned during training and to make sure they have all the information they need to ensure their safety during an emergency. This Trans-Tasman training initiative included a number of scenarios combined with navigation events, to assist Rural Fire Fighters to develop and maintain the skills required for emergency work in preparation for the fire season. 12 teams in thirty fire fighting units spent two days navigating to rural fire scenarios, where they were deployed to 9 separate sectors to undertake simulated motor vehicle accidents, medial scenarios, burnover, fuel assessments, property protection, and electrical safety activities where they demonstrated their knowledge and successfully completed the tasks in each sector. Chief Fire Officer Simon Osborne says NSW Rural Fire Service Brigades from Braidwood, Wamboin, Queanbeyan City, Hoskington, Jerrabomberra Creek, Stoney Creek, ACT Parks, Captains Flat, Mongarlowe, Maloon, Boro, Ridgeway and Michelago took part in the exercise. Incident Controllers from the Queanbeyan Fire Control Centre and the Operations Support group for the Lake George Zone also ensured that the weekend ran smoothly. This Trans-Tasman training initiative has provided Rural Fire Fighters from Fire & Rescue New Zealand and the Rodney District Council Rural Fire Authority with a remarkable training opportunity prior to the heart of the Fire Season to gain skills and knowledge and to enhance their personal development.
Written and photos by CFO Simon Osborne