This week at Macquarie Island: 14 June 2019

Search-and-rescue for a dummy expeditioner

Team Mission: Find Brian

When a pesky human-sized dummy expeditioner (let’s call him Brian) goes missing on station, it’s the perfect opportunity to stand an Incident Management Team (Kat, Kerryn, Doug and Billy), to hit the Search and Rescue (SAR) alarm, and to practice a station search training exercise.

With our scenario creatively set up by Billy, the team’s mission was to find Brian somewhere on station. Five search teams were sent out with head torches, radios and a map with specific search zones.

In the fading light and brisk winds, each team systematically searched every building and surrounds on the station and called in their search results to Doug who was in charge of the radio: “Team 4… Pump House clear… moving to the Ham Shack”. Kerryn methodically ticked each cleared building off the list, and as each zone was cleared, Billy re-tasked the teams to their next search zone.

The radio waves rippled with excitement when Team 3 had found the first clue to Brian’s whereabouts: “Team 3… clue found in post office”. As the clues rolled in and more buildings were cleared, the diligence of the team was clear. Capturing the overall view as the Incident Manager, it was fantastic to witness a team so committed to undertake a scenario — even if it was to find a well-concealed life-sized dummy.

It took about half an hour before the call came through: “This is Team 3…we have found Brian’s glove… and a gumboot… and Brian!”

The team then switched into patient recovery mode, as Dr Kate carefully coordinated Brian’s transfer on a stretcher to the medical suite. As the light faded we called an end to the successful exercise, and to debrief the scenario over a well-earned cuppa.

Brian found. Mission accomplished!

Kat (Station Leader)

one person stands at a whiteboard, another at a radio console and a woman sits at a table in front of maps
Billy, Doug and Kerryn setting up the Incident Management area
(Photo: Kat Panjari)
A whiteboard with a photo of a dummy and information about search teams and clues found
The incident control board — shows how Brian was found
(Photo: Kat Panjari)
two people stand wearing head torches and a woman in a purple jacket holds a numbered block
Search Team 1 Shane and Kate find a clue
(Photo: Kat Panjari)
a man and a woman give a thumbs up in front of a dummy laying on the grass
Team 3 Pete and Andrea find Brian in the tussock grass
(Photo: Andrea Turbett)
three people stand around a dummy laying in the tussock
Kate, Andrea and Pete attend to Brian
(Photo: Shane Bilston)
7 people carry a stretcher up an embankment
The team retrieve Brian
(Photo: Mark Baker)
A group of people hold a slide a dummy from a stretcher to a bed
Brian is safely transferred to the medical surgery
(Photo: Shane Bilston)
A life sized male dummy sits in a chair holding a cup
Mission accomplished: Brian found and can enjoy a cuppa
(Photo: Billy Wallace)