On station we are completely self contained, and we all fulfil roles in the community that normally we would hand over to someone else. These are secondary jobs like being a hairdresser, electoral officer, lettuce grower, librarian, flag officer or environmental officer.
We are also the fire team and search and rescue service and this is one of the biggest secondary responsibilities. With only 14 on station over winter, everyone has a role to play!
Training started back in Hobart with a five day course at the Tasmania Fire Service. During this time we learnt how to use breathing apparatus, roll out a fire hose without getting it tangled up and control water flow to gently put out a fire rather then blasting it everywhere. The team also got to experience what it was like to actually be in a building when it was on fire as the heat and smoke intensified.
Search and rescue training was not quite as intense in Hobart, but we still spent two and a half days looking over field equipment and learning the theory behind how to run an effective search and rescue, if someone became lost.
Once the station was handed over we became responsible for rescuing ourselves and each other in the event of an emergency. We have completed all sorts of fire and search and rescue training here on station to make sure that our skills remain up to date.
Last week we decided to combine a few different sessions and do a combined first aid, search and rescue and fire training afternoon, and as a treat have a spit roast afterwards. Training was held in the emergency vehicle store which usually houses the red fire Hägglunds, orange search and rescue Hägglunds and search and rescue quads as well as first responder breathing apparatus and turnout gear.
Part of the search and rescue training involved how to ‘package’ some-one who has hurt themselves outside of the medical suite. Depending on the injury this involves using a stretcher or sled to bring someone home. We also have this amazing bean bag that we can lay someone on and then we vacuum the air out, and the bean bag goes hard around the person. This provides support to the person while they are being carried.
While we were learning about vacuum mattresses, the spit roast was cooking away in the background and the smells of roasting meat were starting to drift around the emergency vehicle store, making the final session for the afternoon fire truck familiarisation a slightly hurried event.